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Municipal Finance
Municipal Finance

The core of the Strong Towns Movement is to ensure municipalities do the math on all of their investments. Because, too often, we see municipalities fall into the illusion of wealth. Municipalities get the immediate revenue from the investment, sure—but it doesn't cover the long-term maintenance. 

At Strong Towns, we believe cities should shift their focus from the mega-project that require overwhelming use of public infrastructure to small, incremental investments that can positively transform everything about how we live our lives.

This page is dedicated to all conversations related to municipal finance. Consider starting with one on the following: 

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I've started a spreadsheet here. Feel free to contribute.


Hi, I'm Matt and I have an idea that I was told had a common theme with ideas proposed by other members of this group.

I'm a software engineer, and am self-employed. A couple years back I stumbled upon a website and community called It's a list of word wide cities with photos, videos, and a number of metrics that may relevant to the site's audience, who are known as digital nomads.

Digital nomads are a group of small business owners and freelancers who not only... (More)

The Changing Macro Landscape

Though it is a bit above our purview, it is important to understand the dynamics of central banking and how they impact the level of debt that will be available for governmental entities. The more candy available on the shelf, the higher the temptation for municipalities to get a temporary sugar high. Bonds for everyone!

A few relevant quotes from the linked article:

  • "There is virtually no chance that the structural issues at the heart of the Trump administration's dispute with China will ever be resolved once and for all. Indeed, if you read Elizabeth Warren's trade plan,... (More)

New City zoning ordnances still leave residents without essential services that are within a walkable (and safely) distance.

Hello. I will be running for city commissioner in 2021 and running on a platform of supporting independent local shops. I also believe in the Strong Towns approach of walkability. My city, with a population of 16k, is in Northwest PA bordering Ohio and in between Pittsburgh and Erie and they just approved their comprehensive plan. Although it encompasses walkability, mixed-used development, landscaping, etc their vision does not go far enough and there are internal contradictions in their plan. For instance, in the new zoning map that is linked you can see the street 'Gail' (in SR1 just north SR2... (More)

Create Your Own Value Per Acre Analysis

In our second member-led webinar, Strong Towns member Andrew Kelsey demonstrated how you can create your own tax value per acre analysis: an analysis through ArcGIS Pro that gives you a visual of the the tax revenue generated per development, per acre.

Andrew goes step-by-step through the process and teaches you everything you need to know to create a value per acre analysis for your own city or town, including:

  • how to find parcel data for your own city or town.
  • how to import the data into ArcGIS Pro.
  • how to format the analysis so you can share it with... (More)