As I have spent some time reviewing and proposing the need for a Government Services Study Committee (GSSC), I though it prudent to take a look at how Sturbridge compares to the 10 towns we "model" ourselves to with respect to the revenue/expenditure per capita ratios. Selecting specific information from the "cities and towns" section of the MA Department of Revenue (DOR) website, which included population, total tax levy (all revenues gained from taxes), total revenues (all tax revenue, fees and other receipts, along with State aid, and miscellaneous other revenue generators) and the difference between total revenue per capita (revenue received per resident - average as listed by DOR) and total expenditures per capita (total expenditures per resident - average as listed by DOR), I was able to develop a table reflecting the rating/scoring of each community among the total 11 towns.
In terms of the ranking, the Town of Grafton with a population of 17,765 scored at number 1 in the 11 towns with a surplus of $67.00 per capita, or per resident ratio of plus revenue. Conversely, the Town of Sturbridge (population 9,268 as listed by DOR) scored last at number 11 with a negative or minus $976.70 per capita, or per resident ratio of deficit revenue. Clearly, there are many factors that the numbers cannot account for but the fact is that unless we begin to truly compile and analyze the data available to us, we can, and will never be able to quantify the return on investment with respect to the financial burden we place upon our residents.
There is no doubt that we all have a great quality of life here in Sturbridge, but are we spending more for that quality of life than we need to. Can it be maintained in a more financially efficient manner? The residents in Grafton would argue that they too have a great quality of life in a community not so dissimilar to ours in term of the rural and suburban aspects of it. And they maintain that quality of life at a $67.00 per capita surplus.
Residents in Charlton would equally argue the great quality of life they have and though they are maintaining it in a deficit manner, they are doing so much more economically than we are, by nearly $800 per resident.
The results of the 11 towns are here, click on the chart to increase it in size for easier viewing: