Operating costs are the buzz word, from fire departments and caltrain, to family budgets. But thats were the commonality between cites and families end. Cities look at the factors that lead to operting costs like employee salaries. There is no concept of an underlying structural defect leading to higher operating costs. Everyone was used to living off debt, the ATM of unlimited growth, untill energy prices, the proverbial rug under their feet, was yanked out. At $4/- per gallon home owners were made acutely aware to having overstepped their capabilities. Large homes are not only more expensive to operate and access, they also cost more in post Prop 13 California. Taxes, the very force that directly highlights the cost of conspicous consumption, is also the force that turns people against their government. Governments on the other hand behave like children- instead of recognizing the structural cause of the national malaize they hope that people will come to their senses and see the value of the services installed for a society built as if gas is fifty cents a gallon. Forgiving the vehicle license fee bankrupted the state and did nothing to insure people from the effects of higher gas prices caused by living at the edge of the driving economy. We can't grow ciites and by default their services as if gas was 50c a gallon. People realized that at $4/- gallon. Governments instead are trying to blunder through with a concept of regionalism vaguely consicous that people are bonded out and cannot absorb more debt. Regionalism by combining sevice overhead promises lower costs. But regionalism increases the size the government when all indications point to downsizing, a concept that homeowners have absorbed.
Instead of listening to the problems of higher operating costs governments are trying to pretend that nothing is wrong except the ability of people to pay for services.