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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: 

Can't find the article you're looking for? Ask for it using the Question field below and our team will add it to the page. 

Tax Value Per Acre

I came across this post ( and it seems to contradict the tax value per acre analysis.

I understand that Urban3 looks at property values per acre per parcel since most local governments tax wealth as a percentage of property value. On the other hand, state and federal government taxes are a percentage of income.

Can our analysis of municipal finances ignore income taxes since municipalities do not collect it?

Our municipalities are nested within the landscape of state and federal governments. Also,the higher levels of government tend to inhibit the natural feedback loops. How can we appropriately account... (More)

StrongTowns List


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 Economics of Development 101 with Joe Minicozzi

In this free webinar, Joe Minicozzi of Urban 3 will demonstrate how you can use local data and simple math to understand—and share—the impact of development on your town or city’s economic health. Minicozzi will present case studies that illustrate how cities and regions can better forecast fiscally sustainable development patterns, while also protecting sensitive natural lands and waters.

Discussion questions to consider as you watch the presentation:

  • Communities can rapidly expand their infrastructure, encouraging more short-term growth through new subdivisions, big box stores, etc. How does this short-term growth hurt communities' chances of long-term prosperity?
  • Can you identify the... (More)

How best to engage citizens on a city's budget proposal and/or process?

It's overwhelming at best...our city has put out a simplified budget with colorful graphs and a survey to take. The budget meetings are on you tube, and very long and drawn out.  Thank you!