Cost Accounting in Local Government

Development Impact Fees for Mature Cities

A little over two years ago I got a call from Chu Thai, the Management Services Director with the City of Monterey Park.  He called to ask me what I thought about development impact fees for the City.  I thought, what? Development Impact Fees (DIFs) for a built-out City?  I frankly didn’t see it.  I’m […]

Charging a Utility Encroachment Permit

Every so often I’ll hear about Edison or the Gas Company telling a City that they cannot be charged an encroachment permit to plan check and inspect a street cut under the franchise agreement.  They will then hope that you blink and reduce or eliminate the fee. But recently, I was told that they cited […]

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 […]

Police Level of Service

Police management staff often discuss Levels of Service (LOS) staffing in terms of “officers per 1,000 residents.”    Since it is often a simplistic comparison from one agency to another, it simply does not have much value.     This method can be rebuffed by the simple question, “If you have 1.18 officers per 1,000 residents, and the […]

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 […]

Development Impact Fee Calculation – Demystified

The calculation of Development Impact Fees (DIFs) sounds very technical and it can be, but the process is not insurmountable.  First off a consultant can take you through the process, but the consultant will need a great deal of input from staff. Without staff involvement, the report simply can’t be completed.   Having done this a […]

Privatizing the Water Utility – Issues

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

Giving Proper Respect to Proposition 4

Proposition 4 in California in 1979

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