Spending Transparency in City of Marquette

City of Marquette residents can now get a quick view of where their tax dollars are spent through newly-posted information on the City’s website, http://www.mqtcty.org/finance.html. According to City Chief Financial Officer Gary Simpson, the material is a new requirement of the state of Michigan for all municipalities that comply with the Economic Vitality Incentive Program.

The Performance Dashboard lists the fiscal stability, economic strength, public safety and quality of life in Marquette for the past two years, along with the trend: the percent differences between 2009 and 2010. Also included is whether the trend is positive, negative or neutral. “Of the 17 categories listed, we’re showing positive or neutral performance in 13 of them. Of the four listed as negative, the trend is less than five percent in each of those categories,” Simpson said. “Some trends are outside the boundaries of what the City can change,” Simpson said.

“Just as public companies issue annual financial reports to their shareholders, the Community Financial Report is the taxpayers’ user-friendly report of how their investment—tax dollars—are spent,” he said. “Some folks may be surprised to learn that almost one-half, 49.1 cents, of every dollar spent on property taxes doesn’t go into the City coffers. Instead, it goes to State and County governments, as well as public schools,” Simpson reported. “Of the 50.9 cents the City retains, only 86.33% goes into the general fund, with 11.6% going to the Peter White Public Library, and the other two percent earmarked for senior services.”

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