The Government of Metropolitan Areas in the United States

By Paul Studenski; Frank H. Sommer et al. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER VIII
RESULTS OF CONSOLIDATIONS AND ANNEXATIONS-- THE CITY'S VIEWPOINT

It is difficult to obtain conclusive statistical data on the financial effects of consolidations and annexations. Figures are seldom available to show the totals of revenues and expenditures of the annexed territories, especially when unincorporated, prior to their merger. Municipal accounting systems are not designed with this in view, and such figures as may be available are often not comparable with the data for the city after the merger. Peculiar conditions, which have nothing to do either with independent existence or with annexations, may control the revenues and expenditures of the territories. The results of such conditions cannot always be distinguished from those of other causes. No data are generally available that show the revenues raised and the expenditures made by the city after the merger in the old and new territory respectively. All financial reports apply to the city as a whole and cannot be readily analyzed by geographic districts. While the costs of certain improvements and services in a given territory can be readily computed, others do not lend themselves easily to such segregation. Particularly difficult is the allocation of proper proportions of the general overhead of the city, of costs of certain metropolitan services and improvements such as parks, and of debt charges borne by the whole city. No data of a comparative nature are ordinarily obtainable, showing the level of assessments before and after consolidation, and without such information the changes in tax rates cannot be properly interpreted.


Do Expenditures in Newly Added Territories Exceed Revenues?

The preceding chapter has shown that a city often furnishes to its newly absorbed suburbs more improvements and services than they could possibly have secured for themselves. Does this mean that it spends more money on such suburbs than it secures from them in taxes? Not necessarily so. The general overhead of the city is often increased slightly by the extension of city improvements and services to the new territory. Theo

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