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October 2012 MiniNews

  • Chandler Asset Management
  • Willdan Financial Services
  • Harris.
  • Cutwater Asset Management
  • NBS
  • Bartle Wells Associates

Download the pdf version or print this page.
*Please note that updates have been made to the Job Board section of the MiniNews (PDF format) since its original release.


President’s Message

By: Laura Nomura, City of Irwindale

It’s October Already?
Washington Finance Officers Association Annual Conference

Well, I am officially past the half way mark of my presidency! While the duties add an extra layer of responsibility in my life, I am absolutely enjoying the experience. One of the benefits of being President is that I have the unique opportunity of representing CSMFO at out-of-state conferences. I’ve shared my adventures so far, visiting: Bend, Oregon for the Oregon Municipal Officers Association (OMFOA) Annual Conferece; Sacramento for the California Municipal Treasurers Association (CMTA) Annual Conference; Chicago for the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Annual Conference; and now Kennewick, Washington for the Washington Finance Officers Association (WFOA) Annual Conference.

Aside from experiencing the fabulous fall weather, the conference was an outstanding event. Marilou Moore, 2012 President, and the WFOA Board made me feel welcomed. A gift basket with Washington goodies and my registration materials were in my hotel room when I checked in (such a personal touch).

With Roger Dawes, OMFOA 2012 President-elect and Marilou Moore, 2012 WFOA President

Tuesday night I attended their Board dinner, which also serves as an appreciation event for those planning the conference. They held the dinner at the Terra Blanca Winery. I was able to meet the Board members and others in a casual setting. Marilou introduced all of her out-of-state guests, which included representatives from OMFOA, GFOA, GFOA of British Columbia and, of course, CSMFO.

WFOA’s annual conference is similar to ours, starting on Wednesday with two and a half days of keynote speakers and valuable training. Marilou told me they were expecting about 600 government and commercial attendees. They also have a selection of pre-conference training on Tuesday and a gala event on Thursday night. The only difference I could tell was that they offer a different range of tracks each day. So for example on Tuesday they may offer a debt management track for the day; but on Wednesday that track changes to HR & Legislative Update. I had a hard time deciding which sessions to attend, they all looked so interesting.

On Thursday, WFOA holds its business meeting and this was when I had the opportunity to address the Board and attendees. I shared some of the challenges we are facing here in California and the benefits of being a member of a professional organization like CSMFO or WFOA during these challenging times.

I was able to stay through Friday’s opening comical keynote, Bill Stainton, an internationally recognized Beatle’s expert, before leaving to catch my plane. I figured since I was already in Washington, I should just stop over one night to see my son who just moved there. Great way to cap off an amazing trip to Washington!

October Strategic Planning Session
On October 15 and 16, the Board, committees and chapter chairs will attend CSMFO’s annual strategic planning session in the City of Oakland, where the 2013 Annual Conference will be held. It’s a busy day and a half, where we kick-off Monday with our annual strategic planning session led by Don Maruska. In December 2010, the Board approved a three-year strategic plan for 2011-2013, which is used as the cornerstone of each year’s work plan for the Board and committees. We start the day with reviewing how we have progressed in the goals set forth last October and then we develop additional goals for the upcoming year. This exercise keeps us on task in moving the organization forward in a positive and effective manner. You can find the current strategic plan at the CSMFO website under the “About CSMFO” tab.

The second day, CSMFO holds the October Board meeting. We try to meet two to four times a year in-person, which allows for much more interaction by our leadership away from the distractions of our offices. I look forward to a very interactive and engaging Board meeting!

Upcoming Elections
It’s amazing how fast this year has gone by. Here we are in October, just in time to solicit candidates to serve as the elected leadership for 2013. As Pauline Marx takes the role of President, a President-Elect must be selected from southern California. In addition, we are seeking two new Board members, one from the north and one from the south.

The current President-Elect, Pauline Marx, will chair the Nominating Committee, which will consist of the President, Past-President, one Board member, one committee chair, two chapter chairs and two members at-large (that are not Board members). As the current President, I have the responsibility of forming the committee by October 1. I am close to finishing that task and plan to announce the members soon.

In early October, information regarding the election will be sent out to the membership. We would love to see you become part CSMFO’s leadership!

My New Opportunity
Lastly, I want to share some exciting news with you: I am pulling a “Scott Johnson” (definition: changing jobs mid-way through the CSMFO Presidency). I recently accepted a position with the City of Riverside as the Assistant General Manager – Finance and Administration for the City’s public utility. I will basically serve as Riverside Public Utilities Chief Financial Officer. I am so excited about the opportunity to work in the electric and water utility industry. And not to mention; I get to return for my third tour of duty at Riverside (obviously, I like it there).

As I move on to Riverside I cannot underestimate my appreciation for the support and respect I have received from my colleagues at the City of Irwindale. I leave the City’s Finance Department in good hands, since our Finance Manager, Eva Carreon, has been appointed as the Interim Director of Finance. Eva will do a wonderful job leading the finance team. Congratulations, Eva!

I would also like to assure the CSMFO membership that I will continue to be committed and engaged in CSMFO. My new boss, Riverside Public Utilities General Manager Dave Wright, welcomes and supports my continued commitment to this organization.

Until next time… Have a great October!


Executive Director’s Message

By: Melissa Dixon, CAE

One of the most wonderful things about CSMFO is the leadership. So many dedicated volunteers come together through the chapters, committees and Board of Directors to make the association function smoothly and to help move the mission forward. Having active volunteer participation is vital to the long-term sustainability of CSMFO.

We are in the process of recruiting nominees for the 2013 Board of Directors. Positions up for election include two directors (one north, one south) and the President-Elect (this year from the south).

What does being on the Board entail? All Board members are required to attend the meetings (typically two to four in-person meetings, with teleconference meetings each of the other months). Board members are also assigned liaison positions to at least one committee and several chapters.

The position of President-Elect is part of the Executive Committee, which meets once a month via teleconference in addition to the Board meetings. The President-Elect spends the first year learning the ropes and preparing to take over the presidency the following year; the second year as President; the third year as Past President. The President-Elect is also responsible for chairing the Annual Conference Host Committee (the Annual Conference in 2014 will be held in Palm Springs!).

For a complete list of Board and President-Elect responsibilities, please see the CSMFO Leadership Roles & Responsibilities document on our website.

For those of you reading this and thinking you’d like to get involved but a jump straight to the Board is a bit much, now is the time to consider getting involved at the committee level. President-Elect Pauline Marx will soon be making appointments for Chair, Vice Chair(s) and Senior Advisor(s) for each of CSMFO’s committees. If you’re interested in being considered, please let us know! If you’d like to get involved at the member (non-officer) committee level, let us know that too. We wouldn’t trade our existing volunteers for the world, but only with new people can we truly engage in new perspectives!


Save the Date: CSMFO Conference

By: Interim Finance Director, City of San Rafael

It’s not too early to start planning for the 2013 CSMFO Annual Conference. Make sure your mid-year budget updates, winter sports and other activities don’t conflict with the conference dates (February 20-22, 2013). The Oakland Marriott City Center will serve as the conference hotel. The Marriott is connected to the Oakland Convention Center, which is home to all of the breakout sessions, the exhibit hall and conference events. Visit the CSMFO hotel web page for more information. This link also provides access to the special CSMFO conference room rate of $172 per night plus tax.

The CSMFO Board will meet this month to approve the conference budget and conference registration rates. There is sure to be an early bird registration rate, so look for the announcement coming soon!

The Program Committee is working on another production of general sessions and breakout sessions that make the CSMFO Annual Conference one of the best educational values for public finance officials nationwide.

Things to do:
October – Check out the conference hotel. Clear your calendar for the conference.
November – Take advantage of early bird registration. Make hotel reservations.
December – Enjoy the holidays!
January – Head back to work.
February – Attend the CSMFO Annual Conference!


GASB Changes Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Public-Private Partnership Agreements

By: Tina Henton, CPA

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued a new pronouncement designed to improve financial reporting related to service concession arrangements (SCAs). The standard requires changes to the financial reporting and disclosures for contracts that meet specific criteria outlined in this article. Cities and municipalities may have many contracts that qualify as SCAs, making it critical in this year of implementation to understand the pronouncement’s specifications. Changes to financial reporting for SCAs must be reflected in the 2012/2013 financial statements. Read on to learn what contracts are considered SCAs and what changes are required by GASB Statement No. 60.

What is a Service Concession Arrangement (SCA)?
A Service Concession Arrangement is a type of public-private or public-public partnership held between governmental entities and private companies. The agreement allows the private company to conduct business using city-owned facilities. The private company manages all related business and collects all profits. Entities that may have an SCA with a city or municipality include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

  • Golf courses
  • Convention centers
  • Airports
  • Overnight parks
  • Athletic parks
  • Parking garage companies
  • Food service providers*
  • Coffee shops*
  • Convenience stores*

*Especially if housed within one of the first six examples on the list.

Qualifying Criteria to be Considered an SCA
Not all agreements with private companies are considered under GASB No. 60 to be SCAs. This pronouncement applies to contracts for which ALL of the following criteria are met:

1. Right to use a public asset—The governmental entity (city) conveys to the operator (such as a parking garage) the right and related obligation to provide public services through the use and operation of a capital asset in exchange for significant consideration.

2. Right to operate a for-profit business—The operator collects and is compensated by fees from third parties (customers, for example).

3. Right to determine business type—The governmental entity determines or has the ability to modify or approve what services the operator is required to provide, to whom the operator is required to provide the services, and the prices or rates that can be charged for the services.

4. City retains title of fixed asset—The governmental entity is entitled to significant residual interest in the service utility of the facility at the end of the arrangement.

First Step Toward Compliance
In order to determine how to comply with GASB No. 60, city governments should carefully consider each contracted arrangement. Discuss the city’s contracts with a qualified and knowledgeable CPA to determine which meet the four points of criteria listed above.

Required Changes for Financial Reporting and Disclosures
The first fiscal year affected by GASB No. 60 is July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. As city governments prepare financial reports and disclosures prior to the annual audit, they should include the following:

Accounting and Financial Reporting

  • If the facility associated with an SCA is an existing facility, the governmental entity should continue to report the facility as a capital asset.
  • If the facility associated with an SCA is a new facility purchased or constructed by the operator, or an existing facility that has been improved by the operator, the governmental entity should report:
    • the new facility or the improvement as a capital asset at fair value when it is placed in operation,
    • any contractual obligations as liabilities, and
    • a corresponding deferred inflow of resources equal to the difference between (a) and (b)
  • The governmental entity should recognize a liability for certain obligations to sacrifice financial resources under the terms of the arrangement (required improvements, maintenance, insurance, police services).
  • After initial measurement, the capital asset is subject to existing requirements for depreciation. However, the capital asset should not be depreciated if the arrangement requires the operator to return the facility to the governmental entity in its original or an enhanced condition.

Disclosure

  • Include the following disclosures in the notes to the financial statement:
    • General description of the arrangement (i.e. duration, significant terms)
    • Management’s objective to entering into the contract
    • Financial aspects of the agreements—related liabilities and assets, as well as inflow/outflow of resource
    • Guarantees and commitments

For questions regarding GASB Statement No. 60, please contact the VLS Audit Team at Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman LLP. Team members and Certified Public Accountants Tina Henton (THenton@VLSLLP.com), Renée Graves (RGraves@VLSLLP.com), and Gema Ptasinski (GPtasinski@VLSLLP.com) are here to help your city make the necessary transition steps to successfully comply with new governmental standards. Call (626) 857-7300.


IRS Payroll Tax Audits

By: David Hale, CPA , Tax Partner, LSL, CPA’s

There are a variety of areas covered when tasked with an IRS Payroll Tax Audit. We can cover areas of examination, preparing for the audit, how to reduce your odds of being selected for an audit, the care and feeding of your IRS agent, and relief provisions if they have any issues with worker classification.

In this article, I want to visit the relief provisions to make sure all are aware of their availability, should you have an issue with the IRS relating to worker classification. These relief provisions will allow you to reduce the cost now owed when the IRS reclassifies someone from an independent contractor, to an employee, resulting in you having to report their compensation through your payroll system.

Background
The office of Federal, State and Local Government (FSLG) is responsible for Federal tax administration issues relating to government entity employers. FSLG’s primary objective is to promote compliance with employment tax/withholding reporting (941, W2, employee benefits) and information reporting (1099s) requirements by governmental units and their subordinate agencies.

FSLG is also responsible for ensuring compliance with FICA coverage agreements under Section 218 of the Social Security Act.

It spent approximately five years in education/outreach programs to governmental entities, and now are auditing those entities to ensure compliance, while it continues to conduct educational outreach.

IRS publication 963
This publication is a good source for basic issues relating to employee/independent contractor classification issues. For example, pages four through eight list examples of positions that constitute “public office.” Holders of public office are presumed to be employees receiving wages, and compensation should be processed through your payroll system, and not reported as 1099 income. This means all council members, members of boards, commission members and elected officials all need to be treated as employees for compensation purposes. Their compensation, no matter how small or infrequent, must be run through your payroll system, and NOT handled by issuing a 1099 to them as independent contractors.

There are many other situations that would require judgment in properly classifying a worker, which is a whole separate issue and not covered in this particular article. For instance, be careful when you hire an ex-employee as an independent contractor. Check with us or your CPA if you need assistance in determining the proper worker classifications.

Relief
If you are involved in a payroll tax audit, and the issue of employee classification is part of the findings of the agent, you must know that there are relief provisions available to lessen the amount of the assessment. This relief is only available in conjunction with an audit, and only relating to worker classification issues (such as commissioners being treated as independent contractors and the agent reclassifies them as employees).

  • Make sure the statute of limitation applies
    • They can only assess tax on returns up to three years from the due date of the return, if timely filed.
  • See if you qualify for section 530 relief
    • A worker will not be reclassified if
      • You have a reasonable basis for not treating them as employees
        • Such as it is a standard in your industry
      • Consistent application
        • You have always treated them and similar workers as independent contractors
      • Reporting consistency
        • You have always reported the payments to them on 1099 MISC.
  • If no section 530 relief is available, ask for relief under 3509(a) or (b)
    • These are reduced rates of tax that are assessed
      • Federal income tax (FIT) is only 1.5 percent of the reclassified wages; employee FICA and Medicare taxes assessed will be only 20 percent of the current rate. Employer FICA and Medicare rates are 100 percent of the current rate.
    • This is a one-time opportunity to correct the tax treatment of what the IRS considers misclassified employees.
      • There are circumstances that will disqualify you from this relief, but basically if you have been consistent in your treatment of them, and the agent feels you are trying to comply and you have a reasonable basis for treating them as you have, they will usually grant this relief.
    • If you do not qualify for relief under 3509(a), relief under 3509(b) is similar, however the rates are higher, but they are still less than the standard rates (40 percent instead of 20 percent of the amounts presented above; and 3 percent instead of 1.5 percent on FIT).
  • Case Settlement Program (CSP)
    • Once you receive the reduced rate, ask to have the CSP applied (this is under the discretion of the agent).
      • You will enter into a written agreement with the IRS that you will treat all workers in the classification in question as an employee in the future.
      • They will assess you the tax (under regular rates or under the 3509 (a) or (b) rates) for only one year.
      • Then they will apply a 25 percent rate to the tax, which means they will assess you only 25% of the tax computed.
        • So you might receive the reduced rates, as well as only 25 percent of the rate applied, to only one year.
      • Then the IRS will agree to not assess you for this classification for any other previous years (as long as you treat them as employees in the future).

If you happen to be the unlucky recipient of an audit notice, and an issue arises relating to employee classification, utilize these relief provisions to minimize the amount of assessment. If you should have any questions relating to any other aspect of an IRS payroll tax audit (which covers many areas in addition to worker classification), we are available to assist you. I will update you with more tips as these audits continue.

Visit www.lslcpas.com for further information


Boost Your Network (ISM)

By Brenda Charles, CSMFO Membership Benefits Committee Member

Calling all finance professionals from large cities to special districts and everywhere in between. If you are not currently a member of CSMFO, continue reading and we will tell you why and how to become a member by the end of this newsletter.

While it would take pages to describe all that CSMFO offers, we wanted to focus on the local benefits. As a member you are automatically assigned to your local chapter. Regional chapters are the backbone of our organization. There are 20 chapters that meet on a regular basis and provide an opportunity for exchanging ideas, learning through technical presentations and discussing professional issues with colleagues. Notable meetings from 2012 have included topics such as “Labor Negotiations and the Finance Professional,” “The RDA Trailer Bill: How will it impact cities and what do you need to know?” and “Fraud Awareness and Prevention Tips.”

CSMFO continues to move forward through technological advances that include:

  • The “Hot Topic” webinars, which are coordinated by Don Maruska, Master Certified Coach, Director, CSMFO Coaching Program. Popular webinars have included “So You Want to Be a Finance Director — Keys to Successful Interviewing,” “Promoting Economic Vitality” and “Understanding State-Local Relationships.”
  • The listserv provides members with the opportunity to obtain answers to their questions from statewide colleagues.
  • An easy to navigate website offering resources such as surveys, sample documents and training opportunities just to name a few. See for yourself at www.csmfo.org.

We believe that not only will you benefit from joining CSMFO, but that CSMFO also will benefit as an organization, enhanced by the unique individual experiences every agency brings, making CSMFO even more representative than it is already. CSMFO brings as much breadth and depth of knowledge as GFOA, but with a stronger sense of community. Everyone can benefit through involvement and interaction on the financial issues we face today and into the future.

Sound interesting?…then join today! You will be on your way to receiving the benefits and opportunities described above, and yes, answers to those finance related questions that have kept you up at night.

We look forward to serving with you.


CSMFO MiniNews Committee Member Feature

Name: Barbara Boswell

Agency: City of Lancaster
Committee Chair of: Technology Committee

Q: How long have you been in the municipal finance profession? Why did you choose this profession?
A: I have been in municipal finance for 21 years. I “fell” into the profession; I was looking for something close to home and there was an opening with a city and figured, why not!

Q: How long have you been a CSMFO member? Served on a CSMFO committee?
A: I have been a CSMFO member for most of those 21 years, and served on a committee for the past five or six years. I can’t remember exactly how long I’ve been involved, time seems to fly by so fast!

Q: What committee are you a part of now? Why did you become involved with CSMFO’s committee(s)?
A: I wanted to be more active in the organization, and when I was asked if I was interested in serving on the Technology Committee, I jumped at the chance.

Q: How did you come to be involved in the leadership of CSMFO?
A: I was asked to join the CSMFO leadership by Mark Alvarado when he was president.

Q: What are your goals for the committee for the coming year, and how do they relate to the overall organization’s goals?
A: For the coming year, the Technology Committee will work with the other CSMFO committees to assist them with meeting their goals while finding ways to better utilize our technological resources.


Welcome New CSMFO Members!

  • Robin Conner, Director of Marketing, doxo
  • Scott Ellerbrock, General Manager, Public Entity Risk Management Authority (PERMA)
  • John Herrera, Managing Partner, HERRERA & ASSOCIATES, CPAs
  • Philip Long, Financial Analyst, Independent
  • Sharon McBride, Accounting – Grants Specialist (Retiree), Corona
  • Kelly Rivas, Customer Service Supervisor, Oceanside
  • Tim Skillman, Assistant Division Chief Actuarial Office, California Public Employees’ Retirement System
  • Leslie Spencer, Senior Managing Consulting, PFM Asset Management, LLC
  • Mike Sung, Finance Operations Manager, Fremont
  • Jody Tortorici, Legal Assistant, Danziger & Markhoff LLP

Education Opportunities

Archived Webinar: Economic Development Is Every Finance Professional’s Business

If you missed the September 19 webinar titled Economic Development beyond Redevelopment, view the archived webinar to reach the following valuable resources:

– Quality digital audio recording (available to play on your computer or MP3 device)
– PDF of the presentation along with links to resources

Panelists included:
– Jim Simon, Principal RSG
– Dave McEwen, shareholder, Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, Attorneys at Law
– Bryan Cook, Asst. City Manager and Finance Director, South Gate

You’ll learn:
– Approaches for agencies to promote economic development
– Tools available to support economic development
– Examples of economic development in action
– Key roles for finance professionals to play
– Resources to explore these issues further

At www.csmfo.org/coaching, you’ll also find many other resources to support your career, including the Financial Management Skills Inventory, the Coaches Gallery with 27 volunteer coaches to support you on a one-on-one basis, and productivity tools.

Enjoy the resources to support your career in local government finance.

Winter 2013 UC Davis Extension Accounting and Financial Planning Courses

www.extension.ucdavis.edu/bm

FREE! Professional Education Showcase

  • March 5: Tues., 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K St.
  • No charge. Enroll in section 123OPE600.

ONLINE
Principles of Financial Accounting

  • Enroll now through January 14 and complete by March 22. Passwords issued starting January 7.
  • You must begin and end the course on the dates noted above.
  • $775 ($825 if postmarked after 12/24/2012). Enroll in section 123CAN101.

Principles of Cost Accounting

  • January 7 through April 8: Mon., 5:40 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (no meeting January 21 and February 18).
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 12/27/2012). Enroll in section 123ACC102.
  • Special discounts: Groups.

Auditing

  • January 8 through March 26: Tues., 5:40 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 01/01/2013). Enroll in section 123ACC105.
  • Special discounts: Groups.

Intermediate Accounting – Part One

  • January 9 through March 27: Wed., 5:40 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 01/02/2013). Enroll in section 123ACC104.
  • Special discounts: Groups.

Retirement and Employee Benefits Planning

  • January 8 through March 12: Tues., 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 12/25/2012). Enroll in section 123PER478.
  • Special discounts: Groups. FPA members.

Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning

  • January 9through March 13: Wed., 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 12/26/2012). Enroll in section 123PER473.
  • Special discounts: Groups. FPA members.

To enroll or for more information and a full list of what we offer, visit UC Davis Extension at www.extension.ucdavis.edu/bm or call (800) 752-0881.


Chapter Updates

Monterey Bay & CMTA Division 4 Joint Meeting – October 25
Finance’s critical role in public confidence and support; To Bell and Back; CalPERS reform and the residential lending market, Presenter Name

  • Bill Slater, Consultant and Trainer, Former Director of Finance & Information Technology, City of San Luis Obispo
  • John Bartel, President, Bartel Associates
  • Zachery Adam, Loan Officer, Chase Bank

Central LA & South Bay & CMTA Division 2 Joint Meeting – October 25
FARMER MAC: The “Hidden Gem” Alternative to the Housing GSE Debt

  • Rich Eisenberg, Farmer Mac Assistant Treasurer
  • Rob Owens, Farmer Mac Capital Markets Manager

South Bay & Central LA & CMTA Division 2 Holiday Lunch – December 6
What Lies Ahead for Sales & Use Tax

  • Doug Jensen, Senior Vice-President, Client Services of MuniServices