How profitable is a city?

by Quinton on January 28th, 2013
 Filed under: Location, City

1 Comment

Quinton: A few examples
Tue, 03/19/2013 - 00:48

Take Ottowa, CA for example. According to:

[In thousands of Canadian Dollars]
Revenues for 2011: $3,204,394
Expenses for 2011: $2,814,186.
Net Revenue for 2011: $390,208.
Annual Return: 12.18%

This is all surface level information that requires deeper digging to understand the accounting methods.

According to Ottowa, CA:

57% of revenue is from property taxes.


Boston, MA

[In thousands of USD]
Revenue 2012: $2,868,471
Expenses 2012: $2,761,307
Net Revenue 2012: $107,164
Annual Return: 3.74%

Revenue: $2,855,737
Expenditures: $2,969,109
Net: ($113,372)

Over 1/2 of Boston's revenue comes from property taxes. (

Second largest source of revenue is state aid.

During fiscal year 2012, the City's revenues increased by 4.5%. The City's largest sources of revenues were property taxes, excise taxes, and payment in lieu of taxes of $1.84 billion (64.2% of total revenues) and $820.3 million of program revenues (28.6% of total revenues). Taxes increased by $127.9 million from the previous year. Program revenues increased by $19.8 million for fiscal year 2012. This is largely due to increases in building permits, aircraft fuel, parking meter revenues and hotel and motel excise taxes recorded in the general fund.

The City's expenses cover a range of services. The largest expenses were for schools ($1.4 billion), public safety ($817.8 million), property and development ($114.8 million), public works ($110.2 million). Expenditure surpluses in Snow Removal and State and District Assessments allowed for coverage of deficit spending in Public Safety and Judgments and Claims.

In 2012, governmental activities expenses exceeded program revenues (i.e., user charges, operating grants, and capital grants) b $1.94 billion. This shortfall was covered primarily through taxes ($1.84 billion) and unrestricted grants and contributions ($188.9 million).

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