path for a sustainable future

Government Finance

The Government Finance element explores how development patterns in Onondaga County have affected the ability of local governments to provide the high quality of life their residents have come to expect.

Fiscally sustainable communities are those places that provide services that consistently contribute to a high quality of life for residents, and do so in a manner that is cost-effective for current and future generations. This includes the community’s ability to provide parks and recreation opportunities, high quality educational facilities, safe neighborhoods, functioning infrastructure, and the general health, safety and welfare of its residents. The ability to provide these services is greatly affected by the type and pattern of development as this directly impacts a community’s costs and revenues. Development in Onondaga County is becoming increasingly scattered, and in the absence of population growth, local governments and the private sector are building more roads, water and sewer infrastructure, schools, fire stations, libraries, parks, etc., for the same amount of people. The fiscal inefficiencies of such a development model is stretching the budgets of service providers and hampering the ability of governments to maintain a consistent level of service – and the ability of taxpayers to fund it.

Several issues and opportunities relating to Government Finance were identified over the course of the planning process. A sample key findings is provided below. To review the complete report, follow the link to the right.

Key Findings

  • The right to regulate the development of land falls largely to the 35 municipalities in Onondaga County. Regional infrastructure is controlled in a highly fragmented system by a variety of local, regional and statewide entities.

  • Low-density single-family housing dominates the suburban landscape, despite evidence showing this type of development requires more in services than it generates in tax revenue. Municipalities must find ways to fill the funding gap or cut services.

  • National reporting, as well as local analyses done for the Sustainable Development Plan, indicates that development patterns based on Smart Growth principals can result in a higher net fiscal benefit for the region.