Monday, March 17, 2008

City Finance Comparisons

In a comment on Question Everything in response to the city budget discusssions, there is an interesting link to a Richmond Times database of city/county spending ( Granted, this is previous yr data, but it helps to be able to compare localities.

I point this out, because I like to compare Fredericksburg to Charlottesville - another historic town/college town that is dealing with growth. Charlottesville is almost exactly double the size of Fredericksburg in sq miles, population, revenue, taxes. About the only ratio that isn't close to equal is the amount spent health & wellness (8% vs. 14% c'ville). I would bet you could attribute the differences in education, police, public works to the fact that even though we're smaller than Charlottesville, we probably have certain fixed costs or non-linear expenses that create a few percentage points differences.

As we look ahead a few years at the growth required (courts complex), and the potential for some new revenue sources (tourism campus), it's helpful to have another city close by that appears to have been through many of these challenges. There are a number of other VA cities we can also look at - I just happened to have lived in Charlottesville for a number of years and so it makes it an easy target for my comparisons. Now I feel somewhat more justified in making those references.

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