A Cost of Community Services Study For Indiana Counties and School Corporations

This study looks at two alternate assumptions about property values. Some costs are allocated based on property values. In Indiana’s assessment system, all property except farmland is assessed at market value. Farmland is assessed at its use value in agriculture, which appears to be less than one-third its market value, on average. If costs are allocated with use value, the agricultural COCS ratios tend to be less than one. If costs are allocated with estimated market value, the ratios tend to be greater than one. It is not clear which assumption is more appropriate.

This study also looks at alternate assumptions about road construction and maintenance costs. County road costs are allocated based on vehicle use. Highway engineers find that heavy trucks produce most of the wear on roads. Passenger cars produce very little. The business and agricultural sectors own most of the trucks, and so impose most of the wear on roads. Allocating road costs to business and agriculture can reverse the traditional COCS results for county governments, depending on assumptions about how many miles trucks drive on county roads. Business and agriculture may impose more costs on counties than the revenues they pay. The data are not sufficient to reach a firm conclusion.

Downloadable Documents: 
Author: 
Larry DeBoer
Publisher: 
West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University
Page Numbers: 
52
Publication Date: 
September 1, 2010
Literature Category: 
Reports and Studies