In the wake of the National Trust for Public Land’s annual rankings of cities’ support for parks, we were wondering how the other cities in Shelby County fared.

That led us to wonder how much per capita is being spent by the seven cities of Shelby County on other services like police, fire, and libraries as well.

The following per capita breakdown is based on the latest population numbers of the U.S. Census Bureau and the budgets of Memphis, Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, and Millington.

We hasten to add the proviso that these should be consider general guides, because of the vagaries in how different cities compile their budgets.  While police and fire services and libraries are straightforward, parks and recreation can vary with some cities including community centers, which we deleted to create the best comparables.

Here are the populations used to determine per capita costs (89% of the county’s population lives inside a city):

652,236 – Memphis (69.6% of Shelby County’s total population – #2 largest city in Tennessee)

59,102 – Bartlett (#11 largest city in Tennessee)

50,286 – Collierville (#14 largest city in Tennessee)

39,141 – Germantown  (#19 largest city in Tennessee)

12,618 – Lakeland (#45 largest city in Tennessee)

11,696 – Arlington (#50 largest city in Tennessee)

11,033 – Millington (#53 largest city in Tennesse)

Note: There are now 100,849 people living in the unincorporated area of Shelby County, an increase of 25,022 since the 2000 Census.  Population of Memphis, Germantown, Lakeland, and Arlington has essentially been flat since the 2000 Census.  Bartlett has grown by 4,489 people and Collierville has increased 6,321.

Per Capita Costs for Public Services:

Police Department–
$403.80 – Memphis
$306.80 – Germantown
$275.90 – Colllierville
$266.30 – Bartlett
$260.70 – Millington

* Shelby County Sheriff’s Department provides law enforcement to Arlington and Lakeland

Fire Department:
$273.30 – Memphis
$249.10 – Millington
$208.20 – Germantown
$157.40 – Collierville
$128.90 – Bartlett
$31.54 – Lakeland

* Arlington budget includes $192.70 for public safety but does not specific what comprises that line item.

$57.80 – Memphis
$57.70 – Millington
$49.18 – Bartlett
$46.50 – Lakeland
$42.50 – Collierville
$30.10 – Germantown

* Arlington’s $70.10 per capita for parks seems an aberration but it’s not possible to discern it from the city’s budget.

$38.30 – Germantown
$32.90 – Memphis
$32.50 – Millington
$22.30 – Collierville
$21.90 – Arlington
$21.00 – Bartlett (contract with City of Memphis)

* Arlington has library but budget is opaque about it.


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