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The concept of "Sustainability" has captured the attention of local government leaders across the United States and Canada over the past few years. This includes finance officers, as the term "Financial Sustainability" has come to signify practices such as directing one-time revenues away from recurring sources of expenditure and taking into account long-term maintenance and operating costs when planning and evaluating capital projects. However, the current recession has taught that sustainability is a necessary but insufficient condition to ensure the ongoing financial health of local government. A sustainable system is balanced, but an external shock (like a severe economic downturn) can unbalance the system and perhaps even collapse it.
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