You pose an interesting question with the choices you have provided. Generally, the largest expense a governmental agency has is the cost of salaries and benefits. In your scenario, in the categories of public safety, education, and retirement, employee costs are the greatest expense. This may or may not be true for transportation and public utilities. When a city spends on public safety, the main expense is the cost of the police officers and support staff. This includes salary and benefits. The same is true for education. About 80% of a school’s budget is tied to teacher and support staff expenses. Of course, retirement benefits also are a significant expense for a governmental agency. The interesting part of your question is that in many cities, the city government isn’t responsible for all of the choices you listed. In many cities, the city government handles running the city, school boards handle the operation of school districts, and transportation and utilities are handled by other government agencies. Sometimes, private companies run the utilities. The bottom line is that employee costs are generally the greatest expense for most government agencies.