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By The Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2008

By The Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2008

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County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue. Their roles grow as state government keeps more local funding sources and shifts more taxing power to localities. Still, finding comparative data is difficult. This report helps address that problem by providing information of how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.
County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue. Their roles grow as state government keeps more local funding sources and shifts more taxing power to localities. Still, finding comparative data is difficult. This report helps address that problem by providing information of how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.

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Published by: John Locke Foundation on Mar 30, 2010
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By The Numbers
What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties 
FY 2008
MICHAEL LOWREY
MARCH 2010
POLICY REPORT
 
By The Numbers
What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2008 
MICHAEL LOWREY
March
2010
2
Foreword
3
Executive Summary
 
4
 
Introduction
 
6
Rankings o N.C. Counties byCombined Local Tax & Fee Burden
10
Rankings o N.C. Counties byCombined Property Tax Burden
11
Appendix A: County-by-County Data 
28
Appendix A Summary
30
Characteristics o N.C. Counties
32
Appendix B: Local Cost o Government by Municipality and Population
42
Appendix C: Municipalities That OperateUtility Systems
43
Appendix D: What Is Included in Countyand Municipality Cost Averages
 
2
john locke foundationby the numbers
 
|
FOReWORD
The current economic recession has contributed to the scal crises aced by most cities and coun-ties in North Carolina, making this edition o 
By the Numbers 
(BTN) must reading or government ocialsand taxpayers alike. With the acts given here, county commissioners and city council members can easilycompare their area’s tax burden to similarly situated cities or counties. For taxpayers, BTN is a starting point or questions about taxes and spending, enabling them to hold their elected and appointed ocialsaccountable. This year, as in previous years, policy analyst Michael Lowrey continues the meticulous data collection and reporting that make BTN an essential starting point or discussions o city and county nancesin North Carolina.As always, readers should consider the numbers presented here in context. Cities and countiesdier in many ways, making cross-comparisons tricky. For example, not all cities provide solid wasteservice, recreation acilities, or convention centers. In addition, property tax revenue bases dier. Somecoastal and mountain cities and counties have large numbers o part-time residents with seasonal homes;they are not counted in the population gures, but they still pay property taxes. The dierences matter, sowe recommend that readers make comparisons with cities and counties with similar demographics.There is no doubt that the recession has reduced local revenues. Its impact is beginning to berefected in the period covered in this report, Fiscal Year 2008. The median county revenue per capita wasdown slightly rom $1,355 to $1,331 per capita. That gure represents a signicant burden or a amily o our o $5,324, especially given the high levels o state and ederal taxation and the high unemployment during the current recession.The John Locke Foundation urges local government ocials and taxpayers to continue to askkey questions: What is the proper role o local government? What are essential services, and what areunnecessary rills? North Carolina’s amilies must ace those kinds o questions every day in determining what are the essential expenses and unnecessary rills or their own households. Most people would prob-ably agree that local government’s core services are re, police, and sanitation. But would they agree that core services also include taxpayers’ subsidies to gol courses, convention centers, whitewater parks, andeven restaurants? Especially in times o economic recession, these questions become even more important.While BTN does not answer these questions, it provides a baseline or discussing them. We at the JohnLocke Foundation believe that a lively public debate is healthy, and we are glad to provide this report tohelp oster and inorm that debate.Dr. Michael Sanera Director o Research and Local Government Studies John Locke Foundation
fw

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