Kudos to ProJo for Their City and Town Report
I crack on them enough, but this time I’m sending kudos the ProJo’s way for their story–and the research made available–on the cost to Rhode Islanders for running our state, city and town governments.
Rhode Islanders paid their city and town employees more than $1.6 billion in 2006, a Providence Journal analysis of municipal employee records shows.
Add that to the nearly $1 billion paid to state employees that same year, and the total government payroll in Rhode Island — without including the cost of benefits — tops $2.6 billion.
In short, 1 in 6 Rhode Islanders are employed by some aspect of state and local government (federal government employees weren’t included). I’m not sure where that ranks RI nationally, but the data compiled by the ProJo (the story is by Paul Edward Parker) on payroll costs and number of employees will be useful in comparing RI towns to each other.
UPDATE: Here’s an example. I’ve been playing around with the numbers and came up with a couple lists by ranking Cities/Towns based on the cost/employee and the cost/resident for the government services outlined in the ProJo piece (Schools, Public Safety, Social Programs, Public Services, Administration, Regulatory, Legislative and ‘Other’). Here’s the Top ten most expensive cities/towns in these two categories (The towns in Yellow are on both lists.):
Cost of Government per Resident
In the second list, New Shorham (Block Island) is an outlier, which is self-explanatory. It’s a small island with a small population and basic services require a certain minimum of employees (a ratio of 5 residents per 1 government employee). That Providence and Warwick are on both lists is unsurprising: bigger, more diverse populations usually mean more government (like it or not). But I think if I were Middletown or North Kingstown, I may wonder what was going on. Those of you who reside in some of the communities listed probably have a better idea than I as to the particulars that go into these rankings.