The mayor awoke in his dingy hotel room/apartment. He cleaned up, put on a cheap suit and walked down the street to his rat- and roach-infested office in the commercial district three blocks away. He went to his office and sat down in front of his giant secondhand oak desk covered in scratches and coffee cup rings.
He saw a sticky note stuck to the top of his desk.
Mayor – the city has $1 left in the treasury. The residents are also threatening to riot if we don’t build a functioning water and sewage system.
One dollar left?
The mayor also just realized that he had not, in fact, installed any water pumps or water mains and that for three years, nobody in the city had had access to running water. Presumably they all bought bottled water to cook and wash with, like he did.
However, since there was only one dollar left in the treasury, the mayor figured that he wouldn’t be able to build any water pumps or mains anyway. So he sat down behind his desk, pulled a bottle of whiskey out of a desk drawer, and decided to wait a year and see how the building already planned would develop. Maybe the new growth would bring in more taxpayers and the city would be able to start digging itself out of its hole.
While our mayor gets drunk on cheap bourbon in his office, we learn that Boston has installed subways. This is the game’s way of letting you know that new technologies are available, and that other cities have them, and that you don’t. And that you can’t afford to build them because you only have one fucking dollar in the treasury.
This also happened. Judge Stevens is definitely going to get in trouble for commenting on pending legislation. Also, that sandwich sounds appetizing, doesn’t it.
A year passes. Despite the new growth in Hell, the city is still losing money and is now in the red. There must be some way to cut costs, right?
There is! Impose a sales and income tax on residents and businesses in the ordinances section and cut police and fire department funding in half. Crime will rise, but that’s a risk we’ll have to take.
We don’t need more police stations. The citizens can just buy guns and take the law into their own hands. That’s the American way, god damn it.
So now we have $47 of cashflow per year. That’s not great, but at this rate at least we’ll be out of the hole in three years, and hopefully more citizens will move to Hell and add to the population base. Is there any other spending we can cut? We don’t spend anything on health or education, so we can’t cut spending there. What about transit, though? Do they really need all eight of those dollars?
Apparently they do.
Raising property tax is also an option, but we’ll hold off on that for now – higher tax rates mean lower growth rates.
One year later… the plan is working! Now we have a hundred dollars of cashflow projected for next year. Soon we’ll be rolling in it.
Another year passes, and-
Next year’s projected cashflow is now… $-41.
Someone in the city’s accounting office is going to get fired, I swear to God.
The downturn in the city’s fortunes might have to do with the fact that the industrial and commercial sections of Hell now look like this:
Maybe some drug deals are going down in those abandoned buildings, but that’s about all the business that’s being done. (Actually, there are definitely more drug deals going on since we cut police funding by 50%.)
What we have to do now is place more residential zones to bring in more citizens and drive demand for commercial and industrial zones back up. However, we can’t do that with negative 28 dollars in the treasury. Money has to be raised. Jacking up property taxes won’t help – it will only drive demand for residential zones down and reduce the population, leading to lower tax revenue. Totally defunding police and fire services is also an option, but that will only give us a trickle of money coming in every year – and then we run the risk of fires and riots breaking out.
We truly have no choice now – we’ll have to take out another bond.
The interest rate is only 4%. This could be a lot worse. Now, instead of interest payments on one loan, we’ll be make interest payments on two loans. But the only alternative is stagnation.
I swear that I didn’t plan this out – but it does seem appropriate that the amount we’ll owe at the end of the year on our loans is $666.
Now that we’ve issued our second bond and owe an assload of money every year, we have to act quickly. Zone the shit out of this desert crater with heavy residential. Build tenements with no running water and broken air conditioning units and no fire escapes. We don’t care as long as people move in, start paying taxes, and get jobs at our currently empty, run-down factories.
You might have noticed the little blue things to the left of the police station. Those are water pumps. They cost $100 each and draw water to supply to the surrounding buildings. They can also be attached to pipes that you can build to supply all parts of your city with water. Our mayor finally decided to spend some money on running water – not necessarily because he’s concerned about the citizens but because he knows that running water means a higher population density and more tax revenue. Remember – it’s all about the $$$.
As the water system map shows, the newly powered water pumps are supplying… nothing at all. This may be due to the fact that Hell is in the middle of a desert.
Also, we’ve spent over a quarter of our second bond proceeds and we’re still losing money every year. The new residential zoning has spurred rebuilding in the industrial sector – but will it be enough to save the city’s finances? Probably not.
Meanwhile, the mayor is still drunk off his ass, sleeping on the floor behind his desk. His staffers pretend not to notice as they answer angry letters and phone calls from citizens who are forced to bathe by rubbing their hair with soap and pouring bottles of water over their heads.