The costs of goods and services purchased by local governments decreased 0.1 percent from last month, according to American City & County's Municipal Cost Index. The August 2011 Municipal Cost Index value of 222.7 is 4.9 percent higher than last year.

Most items tracked by American City & County showed only slight price changes in the last month. Asphalt felts and coatings showed the greatest increase, at 3.4 percent. Crude petroleum showed the greatest decrease, at 8 percent in the last month. Gasoline prices also decreased 4.7 percent last month.

However, prices for diesel fuel (No. 2), home heating oil and distillates, and gasoline have shown the greatest increases over last year of all items tracked by American City & County. Diesel fuel is up 50.4 percent, home heating oil is up 45.9 percent, and gasoline is up 43 percent. Electronic computer prices have decreased 12.2 percent since last year, which is the greatest decrease of all items tracked by American City & County.

The Municipal Cost Index, developed exclusively by American City & County, is designed to show the effects of inflation on the cost of providing municipal services. State and local government officials rely on American City & County's Municipal Cost Index to stay on top of price trends, help control price increases for commodities, make informed government contract decisions and intelligent budget planning. Since 1978, readers have loyally referred to the Municipal Cost Index to determine the cost of inflation and, hence, the rising cost of doing business as a local government.

American City & County’s Municipal Cost Index for August 2011 is available now at www.americancityandcounty.com/mciarchive. For a complete archive of the index since 1978, visit www.americancityandcounty.com/mciarchive.