Spatial Fiscal Impact Analysis


  • The spatial approach to fiscal impact analysis
  • Why is a spatial approach is superior to other existing methods
  • City finance, including a city's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)
  • The wealth of information prepared by the assessor, as well as other spatial data, such as police and fire calls


Planners are often asked to estimate the fiscal impact of a specific project. The existing methods treat fiscal impact as an economic model, using data from other cities, regression analysis, formulas and refinement coefficients. They deal with broad land use categories, and forecast the impact of commercial/industrial or residential but not both, and they ignore tax exempt uses. 

The increasing availability of GIS data, particularly from the assessor, makes it possible to evaluate fiscal impact down to the parcel level, so that it can be summarized by detailed land use categories or neighborhoods. If a city had an ideal transaction processing system, to track the location of each dollar of revenue or expenditure, down to the land parcel level, they would have specific information on fiscal impact. Such a system does not exist. The Spatial Fiscal Impact method models what such a system might produce, using identifiable factors, such as land values, taxes, population, police and fire calls, and locally-maintained road frontage. A case study for the City of Bloomington, Illinois, shows how the method is used to measure the impact of sprawl and for ongoing planning. An intermediate session for experienced planners.