Examples Database(National League of Cities' Examples of Programs for Cities Database)(Special Report; Financing, Municipal Government: Tips, Innovation, Legislation)

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These cities have all won awards for their innovative and effective financial management programs. These programs were selected from the Examples of Programs for Cities database, which is compiled by the staff of the Municipal Reference Service (MRS) at the National League of Cities (NLC). NLC direct member cities and state municipal leagues can request additional research by calling MRS at (202) 626-3130. If your city has developed an effective or innovative financial management program, please notify the MRS staff so your program can be added to the database for future use by other cities.

Meridian, Mississippi

Population: 41,036 Year Started: 1994 Address: City of Meridian, P.O. Box 1430. Meridian, MS 39302 Contact: City Hall, (601) 485-1927

Description: When uncollected municipal court fines increased to an amount equal to ten percent of Meridian's annual budget, the city established a comprehensive court fines collection program. It established a new collections clerk position within the Department of Finance and Records, removing the function from the jurisdiction of the courts. The program targets repeat offenders, implements the use of payment plans where necessary to ensure collection, and establishes new penalties, including incarceration. Results show that usual fine collections have increased more than $500.000 in a two-year period. The program also pro\ides an improved base of revenue. and has improved the morale of law enforcement and the courts by hold-: violators responsible to the community. This program won a 1996 Innovation in Municipal Government Award sponsored by the Mississippi Municipal Association and the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University.

Source: Innovations in municipal government awards. Mississippi Municipalities, v45 n3 (Mar. 1996 p10-11. Jackson. Miss.: Mississippi Municipal Association.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Population: 143,485 Year Started: 1993 Address: City of Winston-Salem, Bondholder Relations Group, P.O. Box 2511, Winston-Salem, NC 27102 Contact: Lisa M. Saunders, Coordinator, (910) 7272468

Description: For issuing affordable general obligation citizen bonds, Winston-Salem is the recipient of the 1994 Technology Achievement Awards for Finance, sponsored by Public Technology, Inc. (PTI). General Obligation Bonds are traditionally sold by underwriters in $5,000 denominations per bond. These bonds are usually sold to large corporations, tax-exempt bond funds, financial institutions, and high wealth individuals. Ordinarily it is difficult for average citizens to buy local tax-exempt bonds even in blocks of five to ten bonds. Winston-Salem decided to issue bonds locally in $l,000 denominations that would allow all citizens of the community an opportunity to make a tax-exempt investment and become a bondholder of the City's general obligation funds. A Bondholder Relations Group was formed within the Finance Department and charged with the responsibilities of ongoing communications with bondholders, marketing and selling bonds, and registering new bondholders. On the day of the bond sale, the demand for the bonds was tremendous. The current interest bonds were completely sold out in about two hours. The Citizen Bond program was thereby an unqualified success

Source: Winning solutions 94: solutions for technology-sharing local governments 1994/95. 1995 p126, Washington, D.C.: Public Technology, Inc.

Mercer Island, Washington

Population: 20,816 Address: City of Mercer Island, 9611 South East 36th Street, Mercer Island, WA 98040 Contact: Joanne Sylvis, Finance Director, (206) 2363555

Description: For developing a budget forecasting model, Mercer Island won an Honorable Mention in the 1994 Technology Achievement Awards for Finance, sponsored by Public Technology, Inc. (PTI). Departing from precedent, the Mercer Island Finance Department decided to involve the City Council with forecasting revenues and expenditures by providing them with a computer-driven forecasting model. …