Fiscal Impacts of Growth Model for the City of Montpelier, Vermont


The City of Montpelier addressed the challenge of answering a considerably complex planning question: what are its fiscal impacts of growth and development? As a municipality plans for and permits growth how will it impact the City’s finances, what new revenues and expenses are associated with the development, what City departments are affected most, and how does the development affect the tax rates for all of its citizens? The City hired Crane Associates to create in-house capability of calculating fiscal impacts of development. An Excel-based spreadsheet model was created uniquely for the City of Montpelier. It fits within the City’s current budget framework so that the costs of development are allocated to existing departments. It recognizes the City’s unique school system, tax rates, fee structure, revenue sources, and capital infrastructure. The model can analyze detailed development scenarios prior to issuing permits and determine whether it will overtax the City’s infrastructure capacity and services. The model is not a “black-box” but a transparent and flexible tool. All calculations are visible and if City department revenue sources and expenses change so can the model. Montpelier now has an invaluable planning tool that can be used to direct growth to have a net positive fiscal impact on the City.

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