Government Finance Review

Magazine covers financial management for state and local government through articles and commentary on best practices, management and more.

Articles from Vol. 13, No. 3, June

A Better Way to Provide Services in Charlotte
In a metropolitan area of 1.14 million people, the City of Charlotte's population is 461,000, reflecting a 10-year increase of 26 percent. The North Carolina city is the center of the country's fifth largest urban region and is the second largest banking/financial...
A Guide to On-Line Purchasing Information
Government officials understood the importance of buying well-made products for the best price long before Vice President Gore smashed an ashtray with a $500 hammer on "The Late Show with David Letterman." For decades, organizations such as the National...
A Preconference Look at Florida Web Sites
As thousands of GFOA members head to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the association's 1997 annual conference, many of them may have consulted with area Web sites to find out how to spend free time or to plan a vacation. In addition to the helpful hints...
Contract Monitoring for Financial and Operational Performance
When a bid team from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities won the competition for a five-year operation and maintenance contract for two treatment plants, contract monitoring required establishment of a separate accounting entity for financial and performance...
Cutting the Cost of Government in Philadelphia
Each city's problems are particularly its own. I can, however, tell you a little about what we have done in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to restore the city's finances and chart a course for the city's growth that has enabled us, for the first time in...
GASB Reporting Model Exposure Draft
In January, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) released its much-awaited exposure draft (ED) on the governmental financial reporting model, Basic Financial Statements - and Management's Discussion and Analysis - for State and Local Governments....
GFOA and the GASB Reporting Model
Accountants use the term "governmental financial reporting model" to describe the framework of funds and financial statements that undergirds financial reporting for state and local governments. Past efforts of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board...
GFOA Recommended Practices Help Finance Officers Do the Right Thing
In March 1997, GFOA published Recommended Practices for State and Local Governments Approved by the Government Finance Officers Association and, for the first time since its initial publication in 1993, mailed it to all GFOA members. In previous years,...
Local Government Financial Emergencies Legislation in Florida: Definitions and Reporting Responsibilities
A task force convened by the Florida Government Finance Officers Association at the request of the governor's office points the way for improving the process of determining emergencies. In 1979, the Florida legislature adopted a local government financial...
Local Government Financial Emergency: The Case of Miami, Florida
A series of unsound financial practices and failure to adopt a timely financial recovery plan contributed to the city's loss of control over its fiscal destiny. On December 2, 1996, the city manager of Miami, Florida, informed the governor of the city's...
Making and Keeping Promises in San Diego
In San Diego, California, we have helped to turn around an extremely depressed economy and a skyrocketing violent crime rate. The year before I took office, San Diego was in the midst of a recession. Violent crime had jumped a startling 46 percent in...
Making a Revenue Bond Ordinance Work Effectively: Tips, Tricks, and Traps
A bond ordinance that carefully defines gross revenues and operating expenses, prioritizes payments of expenses, and builds in a rate stabilization fund can lead to greater control of debt service coverage and financial operating results. One of the...
Neighborhoods: The Heart of Greenville
The City of Greenville, South Carolina, has a population of about 60,000 people, residing in a county of more than 350,000 and a metro area with a population approaching one million people. Our region has been particularly successful in attracting international...
Paying for New Development: The Urban Structure Program of the City of Lancaster
A distance surcharge incorporated into the calculation of development impact fees creates economic incentives for developers to locate projects within the city's urban core. Each year the Government Finance Officers Association bestows its prestigious...
Privatization or Managed Competition? the Fort Lauderdale Experience
A managed competition process enables the city to identify the services that are the best candidates for competition, encourage private and public service providers to bid on contracts, and carefully compare the costs among submitted bids. Government...
Reengineering Utility Billing to Improve Efficiency
Many governments look to reengineering to battle shrinking budgets and meet increasing citizen expectations. While several examples of reengineering have been seen in large jurisdictions, success is not limited to big cities. Smaller governments can...
Tax Simplification 101: An Arbitrage Rebate Safe-Harbor Proposal
Tax simplification is not a new idea, but it is one that is getting more attention as Congress and the administration look for ways to ease administrative burdens on the beleaguered Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and taxpayers. In a recent letter to...
The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System
State and local governments are required to participate in EFTPS just as any other business taxpayer. Here are the facts of the system and the choices offered to the taxpayer. More than 1.2 million business taxpayers have been notified to start making...
The Perils of Benefits Outsourcing: A Cautionary Tale
Lured by the promise of lower costs, streamlined administration, and enhanced customer service, thousands of U.S. employers in recent years have turned to outsourcing to address their various benefits and human resources needs. The experience of one...
The Public Budget International Association: Establishing Links with GFOA
The kind invitation made by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) to introduce the activities of the Public Budget International Association (PBIA) also provides an opportunity to focus on the institutional links between the two associations...
The Year 2000: 30 Months and Counting
By now, almost everyone has heard about the "year 2000 (Y2K) problem" and is aware of the potentially disastrous consequences that could result from the inability of computer systems around the world to calculate and store dates correctly on or after...