This paper presents the results from a land use and community service study conducted in Walker Township (Centre County), which investigated the relationship between land uses and local government expenditures and revenues. It compares the local government and school district revenues provided by different land uses with the cost of providing services to those land uses. The study followed the methodology of similar studies by the American Farmland Trust. Four land uses were considered: Residential land, Industrial land, Commercial land, and Agricultural land. The definitions follow Pennsylvania tax assessment conventions, with one exception. The buildings and homes on farms (the homestead) were treated as residential properties. Land without buildings on farms was categorized as Agricultural land. This was done to make the study consistent with the earlier American Farmland Trust studies.
The results of the study show that different land uses in Walker Township have dissimiliar impacts on local government finances. From the perspective of taxpayers who live in Walker Township (who receive services from and pay taxes to the township government and the school district), residential land (including farm residences) requires more in services than it contributes in revenues.
For every dollar of revenue residential land contributes to Walker Toenship and the Bellefonte Area School District, it costs $1.08 to provide services to residential land. Commercial and agricultural land provide more in local government revenue than they demand.
For every dollar of revenue agricultural land contributes, it only costs $0.01 to provide service to that land.
Commercial and agricultural land thus help subsidize the needs of residential land.