Date of Award

1985

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning (MCP)

Department

Community Planning and Area Development

First Advisor

Thomas D. Galloway

Abstract

Municipal fiscal stress is a problem which has received much attention in recent years at the medium to large sized community level, but not in smaller communities, (under 50,000 population). The distinction in population size is important because small communities face a different set of fiscal problems than medium or large sized cities. Furthermore, fiscal problems may vary in relation to the character of the community: central city versus non-central city. Although the term "fiscal stress" has been given various definitions, it is an indicator of fiscal condition, and results from a "maladaptation of fiscal policies purposes of this to private sector resources. For the paper, this maladaptation is defined as short-term fiscal stress.

No systematic method for defining and measuring fiscal pressure for less urbanized, small communities is evident in the literature, although suggestions abound for responses to it. What the literature does suggest is that the fiscal pressure that may lead to fiscal stress may be related to growth, decline, and/or state imposed limits on spending or taxation. Furthermore, the character of the community (central city versus non-central city), and community size appear to be distinguishing characteristics that are pertinent to consider when examining the issue of fiscal pressure.

This paper will explore the concept of growth-related fiscal pressure, how to identify it, and patterns of local budgetary response in South Kingstown, Rhode Island from 1977 to 1982. Particular attention was given toward the identification of fiscal pressure in South Kings town through the examination and comparison of the salient fiscal indicators across several Rhode Island communities of similar population size.

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