Writer: Megan Western
Published September 12, 2023
Cities and counties need money to keep up public safety, public health, infrastructure and other needs.
And Warner Robins' mayor says they take in less money than other cities their size.
In an interview with Mayor LaRhonda Patrick on Sept. 5, the mayor made this statement: "If you look at other cities of comparable size, when you look at revenue they bring in every year, we are way below them. That's a major problem."
Patrick told us that although they always find the money, their budgets are always tight. She says they have a growing city and need to maintain their quality of service while expanding it.
This year, the city also raised its employee pay scale.
13WMAZ set out to VERIFY, "Does the city of Warner Robins raise less revenue than comparable-sized Georgia cities?"
The mayor's office tells us they typically compare themselves to cities like Alpharetta, Albany, Sandy Springs and Valdosta.
For this VERIFY, we looked at the four cities whose population is close to Warner Robins'. We looked at the two slightly larger, Sandy Springs and Roswell, and two slightly smaller, Johns Creek and Albany.
Our sources are financial records posted by UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the United States Census. We looked at data from 2022. It was the most up-to-date information available for all cities involved.
According to US Census, that year the city of Warner Robins had a population of about 82,175 people.
The Carl Vinson Institute says that year the city brought in $116,957,517.
That means they brought in an average of $1,423 for every person in town.
Let's look at the comparable cities.
In 2022, Sandy Springs had a population size of 107,763. They had a total revenue of $159,619,034.
Roswell had a population size of 92,950. They brought in $158,085,211 in revenue.
Johns Creek had a population of 82,453 and brought in $78,527,316 in revenue.
Albany had a population of 67,192 and brought in $240,254,563 in revenue.
Altogether, these cities raised more than $636 million. Their total population combined is around 350,000 people.
That means on average they raised around $1,816 per person. That's about 27% more than Warner Robins.
So we can verify that Mayor Patrick was correct, Warner Robins raises less than other similarly sized Georgia cities.