Here is an article in Wednesday's New York Times about a small town in Spain, Higuera De La Serena, that completely ran out of money. It couldn't pay municipal employees or contractors, nor could it provide most basic services. So the townsfolk stepped up to provide for each other. The town is basically run by volunteers now, from the mayor on down.
During the recent economic downtown (which could reappear at any time), many towns and cities in the United States were nearing a similar crisis. Many were forced to cut back drastically and various city services. Higuera De La Serena offers a way forward, involving civic participation and possibly, over time, local currency. When unmet needs coexist with the means to meet those needs, it is natural to create the money to connect them. Local, city government recognized currency might seem like a hopelessly radical proposal today, but when things fall apart, the hopelessly radical becomes commonsense.