News

News

GFOA is always on the lookout for news items that will be useful for finance professionals, research that might help you do your job better, and legal and regulatory updates you need to know about. Check the GFOA news page for the updates and any relevant GFOA announcements.

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Transformative Engagement in School Budgeting

September 3, 2015

Harford County (Maryland) Public Schools (HCPS) faced a number of serious challenges – class sizes were increasing, employees hadn’t received pay increases in six years, and employees and the community generally felt that resources were not well managed. Faced with the likelihood of additional cuts, the superintendent of HCPS decided to take a new approach to the district’s budget development process, consulting the community to determine the district’s priorities.

Looking Inward: Bond Offerings Exclusively for a Community’s Residents

August 27, 2015

A recent $550 million debt issuance by Denver, Colorado, included an interesting twist – the tail end, some $12 million, was set aside to be sold exclusively to residents. This portion of the offering, referred to as the Mini-Bond Program, sold out within the first hour of availability. The bonds were available for purchase online, making citizen participation easier than past attempts, when the bonds were sold directly to residents.

State and Local Legal Center Reviews the Supreme Court Cases of 2014-2015

August 19, 2015

This week the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) published summaries of this term’s U.S. Supreme Court cases that are important to State and Local Governments. In this guide, the SLLC highlights not only “The Big Cases” but also cases in which the GFOA and other members of the SLLC signed an amicus brief, directing the court to consider the broad legal effects of the court’s decision to state and local governments. The guide includes:

Harnessing Involvement for the Future: Boston Involves Young People in the City’s CIP

August 19, 2015

After finding success with other youth initiatives, the City of Boston, Massachusetts, chose to work with the Participatory Budgeting Project, a New York based citizen engagement organization, to involve young Bostonians in the city’s capital improvement planning process. They began by asking for one youth representative from each of the roughly 70 youth service organizations throughout the city, and 50 groups responded with volunteers to create a steering committee for the project.

Financial Indicators Database

August 17, 2015

Thousands of state and local governments participate each year in the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (Certificate Program). The comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) that they submit to the Certificate Program constitute an incomparable source of information on state and local government finance.

New GFOA Board Members

August 17, 2015

Heather A. Johnston, City Manager, City of Burnsville, Minnesota, became the new president of the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) at the association’s annual business meeting on June 2, 2015. During the past year, Johnston served on the Executive Board as president-elect. She has been a member of the Executive Board since 2011. Johnston accepted the gavel from 2014-2015 President Robert W. Eichem, Chief Financial Officer, City of Boulder, Colorado.

Disaster Readiness and the Finance Officer

August 12, 2015

Planning for a disaster is no easy task. Calamity, man-made or natural, may strike at any time, threatening public safety or property, and recovery can be difficult and costly. The City of Houston, Texas, understands the need for disaster readiness; as recently as September 2008, Hurricane Ike struck the Gulf Coast, causing devastating destruction. The challenges the city faced would have been even greater if its emergency operations plan hadn’t specified the roles and responsibilities the Department of Finance should play in an emergency.

Roanoke Uses Lean/Six Sigma to Save Money and Improve Efficiency

August 5, 2015

Facing a number of challenges – including declining tax revenues, state funding cuts, changes in retirement contributions, and a need for increased capital funding – the City of Roanoke, Virginia, looked to its employees to change the city’s culture and find frontline solutions to everyday problems. It created an atmosphere of individual responsibility and empowerment by equipping employees with the tools needed to effect change in their work spaces. The transition was rooted in a simple question: What must be done to deliver the most value to citizens in the most efficient way?

Can Dynamic Modeling Change the Face of Municipal Treasury Decisions?

July 29, 2015

In the 1970s, the City of San Francisco, California, adopted a business tax system that levied either a payroll tax or a gross receipts tax, whichever was higher. The approach came under fire in the 1990s, however, when a similar business tax system used by the City of Los Angeles was declared unconstitutional, leading San Francisco to abandon the hybrid approach.

August Recess Is Coming – Are You Ready?

July 28, 2015

Throughout the month of August, your congressional delegation typically puts business on hold in Washington, D.C., and heads home. The “August Recess” is designed to give members of Congress and their staff some time to reorient, so it’s one of the very best times for constituents to meet with them. Your advocacy has the most impact during this period because it allows your congressional representation to come face-to-face with the fiscal effects that federal preemption legislation has on localities within their districts.

Oakland County, Michigan, Takes the Long View

July 15, 2015

Most jurisdictions are familiar with the concept of long-term financial planning, which looks at the budget over an extended period of time, rather than over the traditional single-year budget cycle. The approach is often reserved for areas of public-sector finance that lend themselves to long-term thinking, such as capital projects – but that may be changing. Concepts like priority- and performance-based budgeting have highlighted the need for communicating a jurisdiction’s broad goals in the operating budget.

Senate Finance Committee Working Groups Spare Tax Exempt Municipal Bonds; GFOA Leads Education Effort

July 15, 2015

Following up on efforts that began in January 2015, the Senate Finance Committee unveiled the reports of the committee’s bipartisan tax reform working groups, which were assembled more than six months ago to evaluate and identify portions of the federal tax code that are ripe for reform. GFOA led joint discussions with the working groups and its colleagues at the National League of Cities, U.S.

Henrico County’s Path to Resiliency

July 8, 2015

Long before the word “resiliency” was associated with well-managed communities, Henrico County, Virginia, began taking steps to expand the margin between the county’s needs and its available resources. Predicated on a foundation of low taxes rates, physically sound structures, and a focus on service, the county began employing strategies to move it beyond mere sustainability and on to become elastic and agile. Initially, the county’s goals were simple: Provide great services without increasing taxes.


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