Officials in Redmond have developed what they believe is an exciting and innovative on-line analysis tool called the Cost of Growth Model (CGM). An interactive, computer-based fiscal impact model, the CGM is based on the premise that the production of a forecast of fiscal impacts requires a 'modeling' of the cause and effect relationships between land use, the demand for and consumption of municipal services, fiscal burden, and economic and demographic trends. Conceptually, the CGM maintains these relationships in three modules: A development forecast module that produces land-use and demographic outputs given existing land use, land use policy, and regional trends; a revenue module that translates the development forecast into revenues given a set of revenue policies; and a municipal service cost that translates the development forecast into municipal service demand given a set of service level policies.
The CGM allows City analysts to input a "what-if?" scenario that directly impacts any one of the three modules. For instance, "what if a proposed major shopping center is allowed to develop?" Analysts would input the necessary information regarding location of the center, its size, applicable zoning code, etc., and the CGM would produce a 20-year forecast of the fiscal and demographic impacts of the "what if?" scenario. Put another way, CGM is a kind of practical and empirical "SimCity."
Redmond officials say that beyond being a wonderful analysis tool due the quality of analysis generated, the CGM is also a very efficient tool. Traditionally, information regarding revenues, service levels, service costs, calls for police or fire service, proposed development, etc. has been spread out among the City's line departments. Information is, in effect, a decentralized commodity. The CGM, however, links all of this information and knowledge. It breaks down the existing information bottlenecks and is able to efficiently produce a truly comprehensive fiscal impact analysis.
Contact: Anthony Fuentes, Office of the Mayor, (206) 556-2107
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright ©1996, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.