Rapid population growth can be disastrous for a small city. Ideally there should be at least one municipal employee f...

Derek on July 22, 2014

Why E?

Answer E says "new residents of small cites usually do not pay utilities." The stimulus says "rapid population growth will cause something like this." But answer E says nothing about the new residents being a part of rapid growth. What if they were just random people moving? How does this family not having to pay utilities strengthen the argument better than A, it could have been a lazy city that missed billing the new residents. "A" states smaller cities keep municipal jobs during budget cuts, this would most likely be to preemptively prepare for random population growth that would devastate the city, right?

1 Reply

Melody on July 23, 2014

The conclusion of the argument is that "rapid population growth can be disastrous for a small city."

Why? We are told that "ideally" there would be at least one municipal employee for every hundred residents. However, "when too many people move in at once, city services responsible for utilities and permits are quickly overloaded." We also know that "most city budgets do not allow for the immediate hiring of new staff."

We are looking for the answer choice that strengthens the argument.

Answer choice (E) states: "New residents of most small cities do not start paying city taxes for at least a year."

"New residents" to a small city will contribute to population growth. If they do not start paying taxes for at least a year, then the city will be striving to provide services for these new residents on a budget that is smaller than it should be.

So this adds to the other problems discussed in the argument, all of which help support the conclusion that "rapid growth can be disastrous for a small city," e.g. city services responsible for utilities and permits are quickly overloaded, most city budgets do not allow for the immediate hiring of new staff, and new residents not contributing taxes (answer choice (E)).

Rapid growth would occur because of new residents. So if a lot of new residents come into a small city, then all these residents would need city services and yet would not be paying taxes for the first year of their residency, i.e. the rapid influx of new residents could be disastrous for the small city. Thus, answer choice (E) strengthens the argument.

Answer choice (A) states: "During budget shortages, small cities tend to place a high priority on basic municipal services while cutting back on less essential services."

Answer choice (A) does not strengthen the conclusion that "rapid population growth can be disastrous for a small city."

As you have pointed out, smaller cities placing higher priorities on basic municipal services and cutting back on less essential services could actually help to "preemptively prepare for random population growth," which WOULD have devastated the city, but NO LONGER WILL because of their planning. Thus, this answer choice, if anything, serves to weaken the argument, as opposed to strengthen it.

Hope that was helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions.