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GFOA Newsletter
December 8, 2016
Make Sure Your Bases Are Covered with “Debt 101”

Governmental entities have been using debt for more than 200 years to fund public infrastructure such as government buildings, water distribution systems, schools, police stations, and many other projects that require significant capital investment. When a government issues debt, it receives an infusion of cash to build a project; in return, the government repays the bond purchasers over time, plus interest. The use of debt allows a government to complete a capital project with a repayment schedule that spreads the cost of that project over its useful life, and the bond purchaser receives a reasonably reliable source of investment income.

Before issuing debt, a government needs to consider many factors. Appropriate planning and understanding help provide the most favorable results to the issuer while avoiding unnecessary risks and negative consequences. Debt issuance requires working with a number of partners, each with a specific role. The debt issuance will result in a financing agreement that is legally binding, and it is critically important that government officials understand the basic terms of the agreement and what the agreement commits them to do.

To ensure that issuers have all the information they need, the GFOA’s Committee on Governmental Debt Management has created two new resources. Debt 101, Volume 1, provides a high-level outline of the debt issuing process and important considerations, and is intended to be a resource for the first-time or infrequent bond issuer. Debt 101, Volume 2, discusses what needs to happen after the issuance is completed. 
Association News
Executive Board Nominating Committee Seeks Input

The GFOA Executive Board Nominating Committee is seeking recommendations for candidates to fill five at-large positions and the position of president-elect for the 2017-2018 GFOA Executive Board. All candidates must be active GFOA members. Please send nominations by December 31, 2016, to Heather Johnston, Past President, c/o GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Ste. 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210.

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Black Caucus Resolves to Retain Original Mission and Name

The Executive Board of the Black Caucus met on October 15, 2016, to discuss the results of Multicultural Coalition survey. Based on the focused efforts of the Multicultural Coalition Taskforce, the results of the survey, and the feedback received during the general meeting, the executive leadership of the Black Caucus determined that the organization should continue in its current form. It will do so with keen focus on its original mission, which is to “diligently support the aspirations and achievements of African-American public finance officers; to pursue professional development opportunities for our members; and to sponsor projects to assist African-Americans seeking careers in government finance.” 

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Don’t Miss GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference

Save with an early discounted registration fee on GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference, May 21−24, 2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver when you sign up by January 26. Register today!

Take Advantage of First-Time Attendee Scholarships
If you are a first-time annual conference attendee who is a GFOA active (government) member, we encourage you to apply for an annual conference scholarship in the amount of the full-conference registration fee. Fifty scholarships will be awarded per state or province in the order the applications are received. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, e-mail First Annual Conference. All scholarships available for the State of Colorado have already been awarded.

Housing Alert
Several exhibitors contacted GFOA this week about being approached by outside companies to reserve their staff’s hotel rooms for GFOA’s 2017 Annual Conference, saying that GFOA’s hotel block was running out. Experient is the ONLY official housing company for this event, and it will not contact conference attendees or exhibitors directly to make a hotel reservation. Booking through GFOA’s official housing provider, Experient, ensures that you will be working with a reputable company, that your credit card information is secure, and that you will benefit from all services provided to conference attendees and exhibitors at the official hotels. Please click here to reserve your housing through Experient.

Preconference Seminars
Come to Denver a day or two early to participate in GFOA’s preconference seminars on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, at the Colorado Convention Center. Eight full- or half-day preconference seminars will be offered. Check out the description for Building Your Professional Network below and read about and register for the other offerings here.

Building Your Professional Network
Saturday, May 20 ● 8:30 am12:30 pm
4 CPE Credits
Building Your Professional Network is a participant-intensive workshop that will provide you with specific skills to use in any networking situation. You will be able to apply these lessons in new situations and back at the office. Takeaways will include: five easy-to-remember strategies for meeting people, 12 leading questions, and a quick 10-point LinkedIn tune up. Attendees will also learn other networking benefits, including being able to work with teams, keeping up with technology, and gaining confidence to lead new groups. Read the course agenda.


If you have any questions about the annual conference, contact GFOA.

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Sign Up for the Encore Presentation of Better Budgeting on January 12

Register for the encore presentation of GFOA’s First Annual Better Budgeting web-stream event on January 12, 2017, from 2 to 4 p.m. (Eastern). The program is designed to equip those on the front lines of local budgeting with techniques for meeting the many practical challenges they face. Group discounts are available; earn 2 CPE credits with your participation. Click here for details and to register today.

If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.

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News Links
State and Local Finances Face Continued Challenges

State and local government revenue from major taxes tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau declined by 0.5 percent in the second quarter of 2016, compared to a year earlier. This represents a substantial slowing from the 5 percent average growth for the four previous quarters.

Total state tax revenue from all sources declined by 2.1 percent, driven by declines in 2015 income tax returns, declines in estimated and final payments of income tax, and slowing growth in sales tax.

The just-released State Revenue Report from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government provides detailed analysis of state government tax revenues in the second quarter of 2016 and provides preliminary data for the third quarter. The report also includes the latest revenue forecasts available from state governments. Finally, the report outlines potential behavioral responses by taxpayers in anticipation of post-election federal tax reform, and notes how these responses could affect state tax revenue.

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City of Austin Deals with Social Media Troll

Social media helps governments connect with their citizens, but most jurisdictions worry that starting a new account will create too much work—or open up a free communication channel for critics and trolls. The City of Austin, Texas, has used Reddit for three years, and users are generally supportive and appreciative; the city’s channel includes announcements, question-and-answer sessions, and posts about interesting things happening around the city. But a troll going by the account name “City of Austin” recently started posing as an official representative of the city, responding to questions with false information, according to StateScoop.com.

“Mostly, the troll’s goal seemed to be making inside jokes that pander to the local crowd,” the article said—although some city officials were concerned about the criticism, the article reported. “Ultimately, the system worked itself out and the city didn't need to do much…when the troll is funny and good-natured, his comments rise to the top of the page, accompanied with his ‘parody account' label. But when he doesn't offer anything of substance, the users generally vote his comments to the bottom. Reddit’s users do a good job, he said, of supporting the city’s constructive participation in the community.”

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Small City Looks to Smarter Transportation

Oakley, California—population 35,000—is working on ways for small cities to take part in the “smart cities” movement, GovTech reports. Working with a civil design firm, Oakley “hopes to bring about a coalition of Contra Costa County cities to reap the benefits of a fully smart city. Within the last two months, the city has proposed a Smart City Project  and issued a proclamation encouraging the testing of autonomous vehicles on city streets.” The city is exploring the idea of tapping into the potential of smarter transportation; outfitting city streets with sensors and introducing autonomous cars could reduce the city’s lengthy commute times. Another aspect of the plans is to link up security cameras to aid police dispatches. “At its core it comes down to using sensors, smart software, and communication technologies in order to cut costs … and provide better services to the citizenry,” according to the article.

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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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