Cost Accounting in Local Government

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How Often is Enough?

updating service and capital impact fees

The Power of Why

As local governments pull themselves out of the rubble of the recession and revenues slowly start to increase, there is now an important opportunity to ask yourself, “Why do we do it that way?” We all know that as staffing has decreased processes have changed just to be able to adjust to the smaller amount […]

A Couple of Things about Overhead Percentages

In the line of work that I’m in I hear lots of people mention overhead percentages.  But that is usually not followed by what exactly they mean when using those words.  It can mean very different things to different people. It is almost always expressed as a percentage, but a percentage is useless if you […]

What’s the difference between Capital Fees and Service Fees?

Lately, there seems to be some confusion about the difference between Capital Impact Fees and Operational Service fees and the rules about how each of those very different types of fees are calculated. In short, Capital Impact Fees, most often referred to as Development Impact Fees (DIFs), are fees that are imposed upon development to […]

Don’t forget about your Infrastructure

A recent report by the California Statewide Needs Assessment Project, a coalition of local government groups, identified more than $82 billion in repairs and reconstruction needs on California’s local streets. This, of course, is not news for those that follow such things.  But as local government starts to emerge from the crater that was the […]

Fee Services and the Private Sector Model

Often times during public hearings a Council member will opine that fees are the same as taxes.  I then feel the need to offer a technical explanation of the difference between fees and taxes, often invoking Proposition 4 and the State Constitution.  I have found that this procedural explanation rarely changes anyone’s mind. But what […]

Budgeting for Outcomes

There has been much talk lately in budgeting circles about Budgeting for Outcomes. In short, this means making an effort to determine an organization’s priorities and budgeting towards those priorities. I think most everyone would agree this is a great idea. But then, why do so few organizations do it? Ultimately it comes down to […]

The more things change the more they stay the same

We are living in a time of change. Redevelopment Agencies in their current form have disappeared. No one knows what the State budget will look like until the voters weigh in on temporary tax increases in the fall. Everyone is still trying to figure out what their new normal is for Sales and Property taxes. […]

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