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GFOA Newsletter
September 8, 2016
EMPLOYMENT ADS  |  TRAINING  |  BEST PRACTICES
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Addressing Risk in Economic Development Projects

Economic development projects hold the promise of new opportunities for a community, but they also have the potential to carry substantial risk and uncertainty. In fact, the level of risk is sometimes a reason why governments need to provide an incentive for going forward with the project. Jurisdictions need to go into a project with a clear understanding of how risk and uncertainty could affect the results they expect from the project, identifying the potential impacts, both positive and negative. Carefully analyzing risk and uncertainty will produce information that allows decision makers to judge whether or not the project should proceed under the proposed terms as well as assisting in negotiations and identification of terms that may mitigate risk or uncertainty for a government.

GFOA’s Assessing Risk and Uncertainty in Economic Development Projects best practice provides recommendations and examples of risks and uncertainties related to economic development projects, including risk and uncertainty associated with the market the project is attempting to capture, of government revenues from the project, and of government costs and resource requirements, among others.

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Association News
Don’t Miss Next Week’s Internet Training:
What to Look For: A Lay Person’s Guide to Local Government Financial Reports

Are you an occasional or potential user of state or local government financial statements who wants to get a better idea of what you should be looking for in a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR)? Are you a more experienced CAFR user looking for a practical way to convey what you know to others? GFOA’s two-hour interactive Internet training program on September 14 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm (Eastern) is designed for you!

Read more and register today!

Earn 2 CPE credits with your participation. If you have any questions about the training, e-mail GFOA Training.

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Budgeting Is Only As Effective as the Professionals Who Make It Happen

Budgeting is at the very core of local government finance, functioning as a practical tool for setting policy, establishing priorities, promoting effectiveness and efficiency in operations, and ensuring both financial and programmatic accountability. GFOA’s first annual Better Budgeting web-streaming event on October 6, 2016, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern (with an encore presentation on January 12, 2017), is designed to help those on the front lines of local budgeting meet the many practical challenges they face.

This two-hour web-stream event will combine lecture, panel discussion, and examples to communicate and reinforce the key policies and critical procedures presented. Earn 2 CPE credits with your participation. Click here for more information and to review an agenda.

Save with group discounts. (Please type your information on the October group registration template or January group registration template and save it. Please e-mail it to GFOA Training with your registration form or fax it to GFOA.)

Register today. Brochure and registration form / Register online. If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.

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Sign Up by September 30 to Save on the November GAAP Update

Whether you’re new to government or a career veteran, learn everything you need to know about the most recent developments in accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments, including the latest GASB statements, exposure drafts, and implementation guidance, at GFOA’s 21st Annual Governmental GAAP Update web-streaming event on November 3, 2016, at 1 to 5 p.m. Eastern (with an encore presentation on December 1, 2016). Earn 4 CPE credits with your participation.

Take advantage of early and group discounts on registration fees. Sign up by September 30 and take advantage of an early registration discount for the November offering (or register by November 8 to save on the registration fee for the December offering).

Sign up with your colleagues and save with group pricing. Make a day of it and build an event around this training as an affordable way to train staff and/or educate clients. (Please type your information on the November Group registration template or December Group registration template and save it; then e-mail it to GFOA Training with your registration form or fax it to GFOA.)

Register today. Brochure and registration form / Register online. If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.

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Continuing Disclosure Alert—Recent SEC Enforcement Actions

On August 24, 2016, the SEC Office of Municipal Securities announced enforcement actions against 71 municipal issuers for violations in municipal bond offerings from 2011 to 2014, as part of the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) Initiative. Close review of the Cease and Desist Orders reveals that nearly all of the enforcement actions related to late filings of financial information on EMMA. Some issuers failed to note the late filing in the official statements of subsequent bond issues. The named issuers missed filing deadlines by as little as 36 days to as much as several years. There were few examples of failures to report other material events. This GFOA Continuing Disclosure Alert reminds issuers of the importance of making timely filings of financial information in accordance with each issuer’s continuing disclosure agreement.

The alert highlights essential practices emphasized throughout GFOA’s best practices on continuing disclosure:

  1. Understand and discuss your organization’s policies and procedures on disclosure.
  2. Know who is filing what, when, and where.
  3. Be aware of what is posted on EMMA.
  4. Be aware of what your organization has promised to do in the continuing disclosure agreement.
  5. Recognize that each official statement must include a statement about whether the issuer failed to materially comply with previous commitments within the past five years.
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GFOA, NABL Issue Guidance on Post-Issuance Tax-Compliance

GFOA and the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL) issued guidance to issuers and their counsel on developing policies to maximize continuing compliance with the tax-exempt bond rules after the issuance of tax-advantaged bonds. The two organizations cooperated on the issuance of separate but complementary guidance to their respective members.

GFOA’s Alert on Developing and Implementing Procedures for Post-Issuance Tax Compliance for Issuers of Governmental Bonds explains that post-issuance tax compliance procedures describe the courses of action to be taken by an organization to maximize the likelihood that tax rules applicable to tax-advantaged bonds—tax-exempt bonds, tax credit bonds, and direct-pay bonds—are followed after the bonds are issued and while they remain outstanding. Post-issuance tax compliance procedures have two fundamental purposes: to enhance the likelihood of compliance with rules and to facilitate and streamline the organization’s administrative functions. Broadly speaking, the tax rules applicable to tax-advantaged bonds address four principal categories of issues: 1) expenditure of proceeds; 2) use of financed assets; 3) investment of proceeds; and 4) record keeping. These four categories define the focus of well-drafted post-issuance tax compliance procedures.

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News Links
State and Local Governments Likely to Foot Bill for Future U.S. Water and Sewer Infrastructure Improvements

State and local governments will have to make substantial investments to improve America’s decaying water and sewer infrastructure, according to a panel discussion at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ summit last week. One speaker said the United States faces “an estimated $105 billion shortfall over the next decade in the amount of money needed to bring the nation’s water and wastewater systems into a state of good repair,” adding that “at the end of the day, it is the users of the system that pay for it.” 

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Tips for Collecting Revenue

Most jurisdictions face obstacles in funding improvement projects, but they don’t always collect the funding sources they’re already entitled to. Smart Cities Council offers a couple of quick tips. First, make it easy for people to pay. The article cites an online income tax service in Mexico that almost immediately boosted overall tax revenues by 10% and increased the number of tax statements submitted by 20%. Your jurisdiction might benefit from thinking about how it collects fees from the perspective of the taxpayer. The other piece of advice: Identify tax cheats quickly. Data analytics are making it easier to identify tax cheats and collect the revenues, making the job of tax inspectors more effective.

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Build Your Leadership Skills

Leadership takes work and practice. One key to success is effective communication, according to Forbes, which recommends considering all the angles—the who, what, and how—before crafting your message. Also, make sure what you said was understood by asking for questions. Another talent to work on is the ability to engage others. Consider each individual’s strengths, weaknesses and interests; keep your team apprised of any important changes or plans that might be coming up; and encourage feedback about assignments, project agendas, or workplace policies. You’ll also need to be resourceful, drawing on resources that will help you stay on track if you encounter obstacles. These include getting executive training that focuses on leadership development and finding a mentor.

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Editor: Marcy Boggs  |  Executive Director/CEO: Jeffrey Esser

The GFOA Newsletter (ISSN 1051-6964) is published weekly by
the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
Correspondence regarding editorial and/or business matters should be sent to
GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210. Phone - 312/977-9700 FAX - 312/977-4806.

 


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