March 2012 Municipal Cost Index reaches just beyond January level
Last month, the overall costs of goods and services purchased by local governments increased 0.2 percent, according to American City & County’s Municipal Cost Index. The March 2012 Municipal Cost Index value of 223.9 is 3 percent higher than last year, and barely higher than January’s value of 223.8.
Most items tracked by American City & County showed only slight price changes in the last month. The largest increase was seen in gypsum products (used in construction, among other things), which increased 5.9 percent in one month. Crude petroleum showed the next largest increase at 5.7 percent, and diesel fuel (No. 2) increased 5.2 percent. Diesel fuel is up 19.1 percent since last year, which is the greatest increase of all items tracked by American City & County.
Notably, natural gas showed the greatest price decrease in the last month among the items tracked by American City & County. It was down 6 percent, and it is down 25.3 percent since last year, which is the greatest decrease among items tracked by the magazine. Electronic computers dropped 9.8 percent last month, and hardwood lumber dipped 2 percent.
The Municipal Cost Index, developed exclusively by American City & County, is designed to show the effects of inflation on the cost of providing municipal services. State and local government officials rely on American City & County’s Municipal Cost Index to stay on top of price trends, help control price increases for commodities, make informed government contract decisions and intelligent budget planning. Since 1978, readers have loyally referred to the Municipal Cost Index to determine the cost of inflation and, hence, the rising cost of doing business as a local government.
American City & County’s Municipal Cost Index for March 2012 and a complete archive since 1978 is available now at americancityandcounty.com/municipal-cost-index.