Finished the book

Mark Pinsley

I am the Controller of my County in PA. I read the book and have several questions

1. The author refers to cul-de-sacs - so is the key that you wouldn't have any more cul-de-sacs? Or under what conditions would you have them?

2. It is talked about that the planners take us to an end state. I know that we have a new neighborhood that will have 800 new homes (which likely means 1600 cars). But all of the homes will likely be purchased within a year. So why iterate if you can sell them all at once?

3. When looking at a new project (lets say a bridge). If all of the revenue comes from property tax, how would you  justify a bridge?

4. If property tax is used for a variety of things (law and order, mental health, police, etc), and let's assume property tax is the tax that the county relies on more than any other. How do you understand if a new street is worth building and if it is going to cover all of the expenses (electricity etc)

5. What if you live in a rural area? There seem to be many issues. One, of course, is keeping everything up to date, and the second is bringing water, electricity, internet access, and more out to the rural areas. How can that ever be justified?

6. As the controller, I am basically an auditor. In our county, the municipalities pay for the underlying infrastructure. I think we have a few bridges we maintain. Other than that where can I look for savings or places where we overspend?







1 comment

  • Comment author
    Charles Marohn

    What book, Mark?

    I feel like you're starting to wrestle with the right questions. For instance, how do you justify a bridge? The answer to that is the value of the things you connect is either productive enough, or going to become productive enough, to justify it. The wrong answer is traffic counts. The really wrong answer is projected traffic counts.

    If you start with the premise that public investments need to generate enough revenue to maintain them at a baseline, it will change the palette of projects you consider.


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