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Search results for "city services" ...

  • Deals for Developers, Cash for Campaigns

    Construction cranes can be seen throughout Washington, D.C. Less visible are the symbiotic relationships between land developers and city officials awarding tax breaks and discounted land deals. Those government subsidies are meant to revive neighborhoods, and to create jobs and affordable housing. But in some cases, the benefits never materialized, or the subsidies simply weren’t needed. And what began as a targeted economic development tool now looks to some like government hand outs that could have paid for other city services. A WAMU investigation found the D.C. City Council awarded $1.7 billion in real estate subsidies to 133 groups in the past decade — and more than a third of the subsidies went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. What’s more, less than five percent of the subsidies went to the city’s poorest areas with a fourth of the city’s population, and developers failed to deliver on pledged public benefits for at least half the projects examined.
  • Philadelphia City Councilman Indicted in federal bribery investigation

    Philadelphia councilman Rick Mariano was accused of having a company in his district pay $23,455 of his credit card debt in 2002, with two of the three checks laundered by other companies in his district. He is also accused of having another company pay $5,400 of his gym dues. Federal prosecutors said Mariano, in turn, provided help with city services and agencies to businessmen who paid his bills.
  • Hidden Taxes

    This investigation found that San Diego was funneling utilities money out of the general tax fund and using it to fill in gaps in the city's budget. Whenever the city needed more money, it would simply raise sewer and water fees. As a result, millions of dollars that should have been used to fix and maintain the sewer system were used to balance the budget.
  • No Tow Zone

    An in-depth investigation using Computer Assisted Reporting showed that during snow emergencies, tow trucks rarely showed up to certain parts of St. Paul. The story examines the ramifications for poorer communities as far as selective enforcement and unequal municipal services are concerned.
  • Filling in the blanks

    Washington City Paper examines the reasons for the relatively high dropout rate in D.C. The story looks at the difficulties that those who have left school face, when they try to earn adult basic education. A second, "shadow school system," which consists of adult learning centers at churches and community organizations, enrolls thousands of students per year. Few, however, succeed to pass the General Education Diploma (GED) exam. The reporter points to statistics showing that over the last decade the proportion of students graduating from high schools has been decreasing, while the proportion of those who earn their diploma through alternative means has been increasing. The very low high school graduation rate in D.C. affects the need for city services, limits the ability of private businesses to find trainable employees, and cripples the ability of young mothers and fathers to find jobs that pay a decent wage, the newspaper reports.
  • Corporate Carpetbaggers

    While San Francisco's biggest businesses complain about the local "business climate" and demand tax cuts at City Hall, many have already incorporated in other states to save themselves millions of dollars that could have helped fund city services. (May 1, 1996)
  • The Tax-Free Zone

    The City Paper reports that "Each year, thousands of nonprofits suck up millions of dollars in city services, but the District government refuses to send them a bill. Gail Barnes and other city activists say it's time for the cash-strapped District to tap the nonprofits' wallets.... The exodus of middle-income residents from the District may go down as the last great migration of the 20th century. Citing deplorable municipal services, rising crime, and an ineffectual education system, these former D.C. stalwarts have become D.C. haters. Almost to a one, the departing hordes complain about the District's confiscatory taxes - income, property, and sales - which make Washingtonians' tax bills among the highest in the land."
  • Field of Dreams

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch tells the story of the botched renaissance of East St. Louis; one of the poorest cities in the nation, it is burdened with huge debt, steep property taxes, dwindling city services and high crime; the city issued $473 million in tax-exempt municipal bonds for building three projects--a luxury apartment complex, recycling plant and port--but construction never began, and bond money was returned to investors.
  • (Untitled)

    San Francisco Chronicle examines the impact of crack cocaine between 1986 and 1989 on city services; law enforcement, courts, prisons, and social services are jammed, costing the city $72 million in 1988 alone; the newspaper contracted financial experts to aid in determining real costs, Feb. 21, 22, April 5, 24, 1989.
  • The Real Budget Mess

    San Francisco Bay Guardian finds that powerful developers had been able to keep assessments on downtown buildings low at the same time that those buildings were forcing up the costs of city services.