Cost Accounting in Local Government

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Water Conservation and the Commons Dilemma

Water Conservation and the Commons Dilemma

We do not have a Water Crisis

Yes, we have a drought and it critical that we do something about it. But, we need to do something smart and the criminalization of water waste by the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is just plain dumb. In our system of capitalism, which no one except SWRCB suggests abandoning, the marketplace determines […]

Musings on Food-Truck Safety

I love the expression “Accountants just want to have fun.” When the accountant is also a consultant, the “fun” can mean enjoying the “inspirational” posters on despair.com and wishing that I had thought of that business first. I’d like to add a new idea to the list, “If you can’t be a ‘good’ example, maybe […]

Planning for the Future without Contracting

There has been a groundswell of California local governments contracting out the delivery of services that formerly were provided by employees.  The latest was the decision by the City of Newport Beach to contract out lifeguard services at one of their popular beaches. The rationale was bluntly stated in words to the effect that the […]

Benchmarking in Local Government

I noticed the other day that some of the groups I’ve joined on LinkedIn are discussing benchmarking. I went through my benchmarking phase two decades ago. After conceptualizing an approach that I thought would be valuable, I realized that I didn’t have the time to follow-up and, as an “outsider,” would not get the cooperation […]

Contracting: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Given the renewed interest in contracting as a way to save money, it seems like a good time to review the experience of agencies that have tried this and learned hard lessons for the benefit of the group. There are two general categories of contracting: (1) Contracting for peak loads; and, (2) Contracting the entire […]

Swatting those “Swatting”

A young girl calls the police while hiding in a closet to say that her father has just killed her mother and is looking for her to kill next. The police immediately respond with overwhelming force anticipating a violent confrontation. The homeowner answers the front door, is thrown to the ground and surrounded by high-powered […]

What do I want to pay for? That is the Question

There is a favorite game being played today called “Catch the Fee that’s Really a Tax.” This game is played by many well-intentioned individuals who believe that fees are being adopted that are “fees” in name only. If we assume for the sake of argument that the “fee” which is alleged to be a tax […]

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