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By the Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2010

By the Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2010

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County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue, but finding comparative data is hard. That's why this report provides 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, but finding comparative data is hard. That's why this report provides 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 Feb 28, 2012
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02/04/2014

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Wt Gvrnmnt Csts nNrt Crn Cts nd CuntsFY 2010
MiChael loWeYMrc 2012
POLICY REPORT
 
By The Numbers
What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2010 
MICHAEL LOWREY
March
2012
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: Utilities Provided by Municipalities withPopulations o 5,000+
43
Appendix D: AFIR Line Items Used in Analysis
 
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john locke foundationby the numbers
 
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FOReWORD
The economic recession that hit ull orce in 2008 was declared ocially over in June 2009 whenthe country experienced two quarters o very slow growth. But a troubled housing sector and a still-sluggisheconomy with high unemployment have contributed to the scal crises acing many cities and counties inNorth Carolina. As always, this edition o 
By the Numbers 
(BTN) is must reading or government ocialsand taxpayers alike. It highlights what kinds o scal problems ace local governments in an economy that grows only very slowly. With the acts given here, county commissioners and city council members caneasily compare 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 touchstone or discussions o city and county nancesin North Carolina.As always, readers should consider the numbers presented here in context. Cities and counties dierin many ways, making cross-comparisons tricky. For example, not all cities provide solid waste service,recreation acilities, or convention centers. In addition, property tax revenue bases dier. Some coastal andmountain 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, so we recom-mend that readers make comparisons with cities and counties with similar demographics.There is no doubt that the recession has reduced local revenues. Its impact continues to be refectedin the period covered in this report, Fiscal Year 2010. The median county revenue per capita was downslightly rom an infation-adjusted $1,304 to $1,242 per capita. That gure represents a signicant burdenor a amily o our o $4,970, especially given the high levels o state and ederal taxation and still-elevatedunemployment levels.The John Locke Foundation urges local government ocials and taxpayers to continue to ask key ques-tions: What is the proper role o local government? What are essential services, and what are unnecessaryrills? North Carolina’s amilies must ace those kinds o questions every day in determining what are theessential expenses and unnecessary rills or their own households. Most people would probably agree that local government’s core services are re, police, and sanitation. But would they agree that core services alsoinclude taxpayers’ subsidies to gol courses, convention centers, whitewater parks, and even restaurants?Especially in times o economic recession, these questions become even more important. While BTN doesnot answer these questions, it provides a baseline or discussing them. We at the John Locke Foundationbelieve that a lively public debate is healthy, and we are glad to provide this report to help oster andinorm that debate.Dr. Michael Sanera Director o Research and Local Government Studies John Locke Foundation
fw

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