Housing Complex

The State of the District, in Numbers

Much has been made of the District's $400 million surplus in fiscal year 2012, which could add fuel to arguments in favor of capping property tax hikes and further lowering speed camera fines. But the new Comprehensive Annual Financial Report contains more than just budget details; here's a numerical breakdown of a few truly important items Mayor Vince Gray will want to be sure to highlight in his State of the District address next week.

Tons of snow removed: 105,487 in 2012, down from 850,000 in 2011 and 5,298,905 in 2010. Chalk it up to a mild winter.

Tons of leaves removed: 5,659, down from 6,914 in 2011 and 8,050 in 2010. Chalk it up to a mild fall?

Number of motor vehicle registrations: 284,674, up from 278,915 in 2011. The war on cars is going poorly.

Number of school buses: 838, up from 802 in 2011 and 753 in 2010. The war on school buses is going just awfully.

Number of volumes in the public libraries: 1,466,010, down from 1,601,581 in 2011 and 2,242,514 in 2010. This despite an increase in the number of library buildings. Those fancy new libraries don't actually have a whole lot of books.

Potholes repaired: 26,233, up from 6,863 in 2011. The bikers and drivers of the District thank the administration.

Number of ambulances: 73, down from 89 in 2011. Try not to get hurt or sick.

Number of medical incidents: 137,643, up from 130,268. You're not trying hard enough.

Number of trees: 148,980, up from 144,000. Despite the derecho's best efforts.

Tons per day of recyclables collected: 133, up from 107. Pat yourselves on the back.

  • http://squarelyrooted.wordpress.com Squarely Rooted

    Whoa! What happened to 776,504 books in just two years? Just physically speaking that is literally 100 tons of books, at least; and in terms of inventory that is a 34% decrease. Where'd they go?

  • Mrs. D

    The number seems large. Some of it can likely be explained by moving to electronic media. E-books, as well as electronic journals and encyclopedic references. I would wonder if, maybe, that also reflects books now in storage while libraries are renovated? It's a large enough number (nearly 35% of the original stock) that it needs 'splainin, but there might be a good explanation.

  • Mrs. D

    Also, NO NO NO. We already have caps on property tax increases, and the current proposal is BUNK. If we want to do something, lower the rate (though that might backfire somewhat, since our rates are already the region low, and lowering the rate more might make ownership in the District more attractive, further driving prices), make the homestead deduction higher, or increase the exemptions, deductions, and income-based rebates (senior citizen, low-income). Or make the cap a *little* more robust...like instead of capping at a 10% annual increase make it 8%. This will help people in rapidly gentrifying areas as well as those on fixed or lower incomes rather than protecting people, in perpetuity, from ANY increases, regardless of income. Driving infraction fines need to smart enough to get people to stop the violations. Maybe spend some of that money moving speed/red light cameras to where they're REALLY needed to curb bad behavior. Or change the income tax brackets to either add a new rate at the low end (pushing up the lower limits of the current brackets in the process) or just move up the lower limit of the 8.5% bracket. $40K isn't exactly "bank" in DC...

    Also, put some of it AWAY. We won't have winters with almost NO snow in perpetuity.

    But good job on the potholes!

  • B

    Interesting about the books. I haven't visited every new location. But my new library is Francis Gregory. It has a lot of books. The old library seems like it had more. But those books were older. Maybe they got rid of a lot of the old books.

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  • ToTheContrary

    That reminds me. I need to get tickets to the Washington Auto Show this weekend.

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  • Angelina

    Hey Aaron, you forgot to include the list of indictments or arrests of DC Officials...or those on the verge!!! (including Fenty, Graham, and Nat Gandhi)

  • Brooks

    Just me spitballing -- but I really think the District should shoot for a zero rate on one or more of it's taxes. It's DC, so we'll shoot at getting rid of a regressive tax, like the sales tax; but it might be easier to get rid of something with less revenue, like the hotel tax. I'd love to eventually get rid of the income tax. New Hampshire is completely funded, more or less, on property taxes.

    Imagine how many of our low-skill unemployed would be employed if retail in DC quadrupled due to no sales tax? Or if hotel rooms quadrupled?

    If we want to build up in DC, to whatever new height limit we get, we might have to lower tax rates on *buildings* but the ground is what is valuable. A land value tax is inherently progressive, and should fit in with DC's cultural mores. Of course there'd be a homestead exemption.

  • anonymous

    The DC library system uses a commercial product, Sirsi, to manage its inventory. Sirsi loses things. I'll look at my record to see when things are due and renew them online, but frequently, there is no record. On the one hand, I can't renew it. On the other hand, there is no rush to return it, since there is no due date and no record of me holding it.

    If it happens to me, it happens to a lot of people. There are probably a lot of materials for which the DC library has simply dropped the record.

    You're doing a heckuva job, Sirsi.

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