Municipal Benchmarks for Massachusetts Middle Cities: A Look at Financial Management

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This paper advocates for an approach to benchmarking that recognizes meaningful differences within groups (like the Middle Cities) that may be lost in a broader comparison or statewide context. Below we discuss three different examples of this method, first looking at different rates of vacant housing from town to town, followed by similar explorations of home values and commercial and industrial development. More broadly, whether the topic is housing, property tax, or something else (school performance, public safety, whatever), wise use of municipal benchmarks holds the promise to recognize ways that communities may be distinguishing themselves—or drifting further into problem territory—without getting drawn into sweeping generalities, broad despair, or defensive apologies.

Municipal Benchmarks for Massachusetts Middle Cities: A Look at Economic Growth

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