Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

March 16, 2015 Viewpoint

Ready for a little 'madness'? Bracketing Worcester's priorities


Worcester's current median residential tax bill is $3,454, while the median commercial tax bill is $8,716. For that price, the city's taxpayers are purchasing an impressive array of services, including:

• Universally accessible elementary and secondary education;

• Maintenance of nearly 450 miles of free roads supported by approximately 700 miles of public sidewalk;

• A safety network that provides police protection and fire response;

• An open library system with nearly 900,000 books and other materials; and

• A city staff that ensures free and fair elections, guarantees implementation of health and safety codes in food and in buildings, promotes the development of downtown and neighborhoods and the creation of new jobs, provides support services for the elderly, and manages 60 parks, 34 playgrounds, 124 playing fields and 15 beaches and water parks.

Yet, not all are happy with the city's services. Taxpayers rightfully make new demands on government and regularly call for more and better services. With limited resources, government leaders must determine how to identify valuable new policies and initiatives, and weigh them against existing municipal demands.

In honor of the NCAA's annual “March Madness” basketball tournament, we offer our “March Municipal Madness” bracket in which new municipal priorities compete to be first among equals.

Divided into four broad categories (Education, Economic Development, Public Safety and Public Administration), March Municipal Madness offers you an opportunity to match one policy proposal or initiative against another to determine the most worthy. This bracket results in hard choices, but every option has an opportunity cost in the resource-limited world of local government.

Here's how to play

You can participate by filling out and submitting a bracket (illustrated above). You can do this in one of these two ways:

Click here to register your selections at (Include your name and email address.), or

Click here to download, then print a copy of the bracket. Fill it out, then scan it and either email it to or fax it to 508-767-7720.

Those who enter will be eligible to win a pair of tickets to the Worcester Regional Research Bureau's annual meeting in the spring (date to be determined). We'll announce the most popular policy initiative, or “champion,” on April 6, the date of the NCAA championship game. Five winners will be notified by email.

While this process will lead to a “champion,” that winning priority — based on which of the 32 receive the most votes, will ultimately need to compete against city officials' priorities to land in the city budget.

Let the games begin!

Timothy McGourthy is executive director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau.

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners

Related Content


Order a PDF