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Cities often have important infrastructure or other investments that are better paid for over time.  Equipment, facilities and other long-term capital expenses are often financed through municipal borrowing.  Although public debt can be viewed negatively, it is often the best option for purchasing long-term capital assets as, over time, those who benefit from such assets concurrently pay for them.  

These investments can be handled in a number of ways.  Bonds, notes, tax increment financing and certain leasing options are the most typical modes of financing, and either take the form of short-term (less than a year) or long-term (over a year) obligations. Cities often enjoy low interest rates as municipal financing has historically been very low risk, so they can pay for capital needs rather inexpensively.