By: Pamela Arends-King, City of Tustin
The Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) annual conference in Minneapolis, MN was very informative and I really enjoyed the networking opportunities. I was very excited to see Pauline Marx, our CSMFO Past President, get appointed to the GFOA Executive Board. Congratulations Pauline!
It is interesting to talk to other peers and learn from the sessions how different each state is in regards to what municipalities, special districts, counties and states are responsible for compared to California. One session discussed financing, cash flow needs and planning for capital projects. The Budget Manager from Plano, Texas spoke and I found it interesting how that city was able to finance major capital projects over the last 20 years by issuing over tens of millions of dollars in bonds that were approved by the voters and are paid through an increase in their property taxes. The City also was able to build a capital projects reserve of over $45 million. t was a little frustrating to say the least to hear this as it is so very difficult to raise the funds to pay for capital projects in California, let alone have a capital projects reserve.
The conference was held at the downtown convention center. An impressive feature of downtown Minneapolis is its Skywalk system. Due to the harsh winters, a majority of the buildings are connected through walkways at the second and third story level. Along the Skywalk there are restaurants and small shops. It is a great system, but very easy to get lost in and I heard many comments from folks saying they were more impressed with the Skywalk than the Mall of America and many were naming it the “hamster run,” which I have to admit is an appropriate term in some areas of the Skywalk. CSMFO held a reception at Mona’s Restaurant and Bar on May 19th. The food was delicious and we had a great turnout and filled the restaurant. I want to thank all of the attendees for coming to the event.
Executive Director’s Message
By: Melissa Dixon, CAE
The 2015 CSMFO Annual Conference Host Committee met for the first time on Friday, May 30. It was a relatively short meeting but planning is already well underway, with some great theme ideas and fun, casual concepts for the Thursday night event!
I’m also excited to report that over 300 room nights have already been reserved. So many of you are just as thrilled as we are to be back in Monterey! If you haven’t booked your room already, you might want to reserve sooner rather than later.
Special room rates for the Portola Hotel are $179 single/double (plus tax).
The following link can be used to make your reservation online. You can also call the hotel at 1-888-222-5851 to make reservations with an agent.
Please make sure to mention the CSMFO conference to receive the special rate. Reservations cut-off date is January 19, 2015.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all in Monterey!
Special Financing Districts: An Introduction to Special Assessments and Special Tax Primer
The 2014 revision of the Special Financing Districts primer, written by NBS Managing Director Tim Seufert, is now available. The revision features new Prop 26 additions and an article by well-experienced industry attorney, Kelly Salt of Best, Best & Krieger. Kelly provides an in-depth overview of the “Legal Considerations for Levying Special Assessments.” Order FREE hard copies for yourself and staff by calling 800.676.7516 or sending an e-mail with your order to firstname.lastname@example.org. The primer is also available to download from the NBS website: www.nbsgov.com/expertise/publications.
CSMFO MiniNews Chapter Chair Spotlight
Name: Monica Lo, Assistant City Controller (Assistant Finance Director)
Agency: City of Whittier
Committee Chair of: Central LA
Q: How long have you been in the municipal finance profession? Why did you choose this profession? How long have you been a CSMFO member? I’ve been the Assistant City Controller for the City of Whittier for 5+ years, and previously I was in the municipal audit industry for 9 years specializing in local government audits, most recently serving in the capacity of Audit Manager for several municipal clients. I have a young son, which is why I chose the municipal profession for its work/life balance. I have been a CSMFO member since joining the City of Whittier in 2009.
Q: Describe your first chapter meeting experience. I was pleased with my first meeting as Chapter Chair, we had an excellent turnout and an outstanding speaker. Everyone was very supportive, which made the planning much easier.
Q: What prompted you to come back and get involved? How did you become Chapter Chair? I’m probably relatively new to CSMFO, but our chapter was continuously looking for new Chair candidates, and after being approached on several occasions I agreed to assist. I look forward to expanding my knowledge of municipal finance and enhancing my relationships with counterparts in other cities.
Q: What are your goals for your Chapter for the coming year, and how do they relate to the organization’s overall goals? I’m hoping to further the Central LA’s partnership with the South Bay Chapter, through improved luncheon topics/trainings and increased meeting attendance.
Q: What advice would you give to people new to the profession and/or CSMFO? Be open to every possible learning opportunity and stay committed to doing the best job possible.
Want to help shape the future of local government financial reporting?
GASB wants your input. A survey is open to government preparers until June 6, 2014. Let your voice be heard.
Upcoming CSMFO Webinars
“What Finance Professionals Need to Know about HR” 10:00 – 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time, Thursday, June 26 Webinar Topics:
- What are the key things you need to know about HR?
- What are the critical issues where finance professionals and HR need to collaborate closely?
- How can you enhance working relationships for the benefit of all?
- Russ Branson, retired Admin. Services Director, Asst. City Manager, Roseville, CA
- Jon Holtzman, partner, Public Law Group
Welcome New CSMFO Members!
- Roy DuPlessis, CEO/Owner, Sequoia Financial Services, Channel Counties Chapter
- Dale Flynn, District Accountant, Los Osos Community Services District, Central Coast Chapter
- Sylvia Granillo, Accounting Manager, Shafter, Central Valley Chapter
- John Guertin, Executive Director – Administration, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, Monterey Bay Chapter
- John Herrera, Finance Director (Interim), Goleta, Channel Counties Chapter
- Susan Holmes, Finance Director, City of Willits, North Coast Chapter
- Allan Kaufman, Sr. Administrative Analyst, Rancho Palos Verdes, South Bay Chapter
- Jennifer King, Revenue Supervisor, Costa Mesa, Orange County Chapter
- Jeff Mohlenkamp, Adminitrative Services Director, Walnut Creek, East Bay Chapter
- Ruben Rojas, Accountant, California Infrastructure & Economic Dev Bank, Sacramento Valley Chapter
- Teresita Shell, Accountant, Laguna Woods, Orange County Chapter
- Bea Sison, PR Accountant, Beach Cities Health District, South Bay Chapter
- Chloe Weil, Debt Manager, San Francisco (City and County), Peninsula Chapter
- Andrea Williams, Accounting/Budget Manager, Monterey Salinas Transit, Monterey Bay Chapter
Channel Counties Chapter Meeting – June 5
– Speaker: Michael Coleman, Fiscal Policy Advisor for League of California Cities & CSMFO
Orange County & CMTA Division 9 Meeting – June 19
– Speakers: Carolyn Emery, Ken Lee & Ben Legbandt of Orange County LAFCO
Central Los Angeles & South Bay Chapters Meeting – June 26
– Speaker: Peter Brown, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
Pricing Alternatives for Recycled Water
By: Greg Clumpner, Director of Utility Rate Practice/NBS
As of January 2014, California is entering its third straight year of drought conditions and facing severe statewide emergency water restrictions. This underscores the growing need for recycled water supplies and emphasizes the challenges facing water and wastewater agencies with existing water reuse systems. One of those challenges is how to appropriately price recycled water, particularly in light of recent court decisions that have effectively placed new restrictions on pricing alternatives.
This short paper is intended to provide a brief discussion and general guidance on pricing principles and mechanisms that water agencies may want to consider when establishing rates for recycled water customers. Two topics are addressed:
- Industry Practices – Recycled rate structures and pricing methodologies that other California agencies are currently using, and
- General Principles – An overview of pricing methodologies and practices.
Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Ukiah, CA – June 11, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Ahmed Badawi – Badawi & Associates
Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Menlo Park, CA – June 25, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Ahmed Badawi – Badawi & Associates
CSMFO provides government finance professionals with numerous resources for enhancing and advancing their careers. Visit the job opportunities page of the CSMFO website for a list of current job openings.