Cost Accounting in Local Government

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Fee Increases in Between Cost Studies

When I first started doing Cost Studies, cities were unlikely to know the cost of their services let alone charge what the services cost. The most common approach, when fee increases were considered necessary, was to compare the city’s fees with neighboring cities, which I called the “blind leading the blind” update. Later, as cost […]

Available versus Billable Hours – Redux

Nine years ago, I wrote the following article. Since the concepts are just as relevant today, I’m reprinting it with some editorial changes to make it more current. Enjoy… On page 31 of the League of California Cities publication “Cost Accounting for California Cities (1981),” we (I was one of the authors) proposed an early […]

Seeking Civil Society

I was recently at a council meeting where, during public comments, several individuals targeted specific councilmembers with abusive comments. It disturbed me at the time and I’ve been thinking about it since then. As a kid, I was taught that if I couldn’t say something nice, I shouldn’t say anything at all. Wow, how times […]

Local Government Revenues

If the purpose of government is to take some of my money and pool it with some of your money in order to do something that we all benefit from, then the revenue limitations that started with Proposition 13 have reduced what California governments have been able to do for the common good. The voters […]

Privatizing the Water Utility – Issues

There are many issues and unintended consequences to privatizing a public utility.

The Legacy of Fads

The Legacy of Fads in municipal budgeting

Budgetary Pitfalls

Budgetary Pitfalls to watch out for.

Water Conservation and the Commons Dilemma

Water Conservation and the Commons Dilemma

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