By: Jesse Takahashi
Summer is just around the corner!
By now, many of us are in the final stages of getting our budgets adopted and preparing for the new fiscal year. Many more of us are also preparing to close out the current fiscal year and get ready for the year-end audits. Somewhere in between these processes, I hope many of you are also making plans for your summer vacations—that all too short period of time when we can think about things other than the multitude of issues of our daily routines at work. Whether our plans involve traveling abroad, across the country or a trip to Disneyland (you should actually defer a Disneyland trip until next March), I hope it will involve spending some quality time with your family and making some good memories along the way. As finance professionals, we dedicate plenty of time to the public service and our profession. This is a good season to spend time on our personal endeavors and recharge our batteries. Whatever you do, may it be a good time for you!
GFOA Conference Doesn’t Disappoint
I just returned from the 109th Annual GFOA Conference that was held May 31 through June 3 in Philadelphia PA. This year’s conference theme was Innovation and Resilience. The Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, gave one of the keynote addresses that spoke about the importance of being resilient and shared his experience through the challenges of the Great Recession while making strides towards improving service delivery through technology initiatives and partnerships. These have positioned the City to move forward successfully in the future. The other keynote speaker was the founder, and now retired CEO of The Vanguard Group, and best-selling author, John Bogle. He shared his experiences and thoughts on public finance and investing and how his pioneering of low-cost index funds helped build a stable and reliable source of investing for many in the public and private sector. His message to all the delegates was to maintain a long-term view towards investing public funds, avoid the fancy and complicated investment schemes promising above average returns, and stick to lower risk, but stable, investments that will provide good value over the long-term. Overall, he explained why this approach ultimately served the public well over the past 40 years. As expected, there were also numerous other content packed concurrent sessions including the latest updates on accounting and auditing issues with Stephen Gauthier and CSMFO’s own Drew Corbett, who presented on “Smart Planning in an Upturn,” and Dennis Kauffman, who presented on “Avoiding Common Financial Reporting Deficiencies.” There were many good sessions offered and, for those of you that did not attend, the presentations are available from the GFOA website at www.gfoa.org.
On Monday night of the conference, CSMFO held its reception for our member delegates at Sampan Restaurant nearby the convention center. Despite it raining that evening, we had about 80 people stop by the reception for some terrific appetizers and drinks while meeting and networking with fellow delegates from California. It was a nice opportunity for all of us to connect while on the East Coast.
Final Numbers from Monterey Conference
At the last Board meeting, a final report on the 55th Annual Conference was presented by Meeting and Associate Management’s Janet Salvetti. There were 949 total members registered and 924 attendees, both of which set new attendance records. The conference netted approximately $84,000 due, in large part, to the higher than expected attendance and part from budget savings. Once again, I want to thank our conference sponsors, host committee, CSMFO staff as well as everyone that attended this year’s conference. I am looking forward to another great conference next year in Anaheim at the Disneyland Resort Hotel on March 1-4, 2016. Be sure to mark your calendars. Have a great summer!
Executive Director’s Message
By: Melissa Dixon, CAE
I had to go to Disneyland. For work. No really, it was for work!
When you say these things to friends and colleagues, they always look skeptical. Maybe it’s because you shouldn’t be able to have so much fun and still call it ‘work’? This was the case, though, at the first in-person meeting of the 2016 Annual Conference Host Committee.
The Committee met on Thursday, May 28 at the Disneyland Hotel. We started the meeting by ordering food at the Tangaroa Terrace (a great little casual eatery next to Trader Sam’s), then walked over to our meeting room. After some discussions about theme and assigning responsibilities, a Disney representative met us there and then took us on a tour of the parks. Our group spent a whirlwind two hours looking at Paradise Gardens, CarsLand, Stage 17, the Mad T Party and the World of Color viewing area in California Adventure, and Adventureland in Disneyland. No decisions have been made yet, but literally all the options presented to us would make for a Fantasmic–I mean, fantastic!–experience for our attendees.
I can’t wait until I have more details to share with you. Stay tuned!
Did you notice the CSMFO staff wearing CSMFO sweaters and polo shirts at the Annual Conference? CSMFO is now offering those items, plus fleece jackets, available for purchase through Land’s End.
The California Society of Municipal Financers Officers (CSMFO) is a community of individuals who dedicate their lives to civil service and promote excellence in financial management through innovation, continuing education and professional development. Those who volunteer to support the CSMFO mission—on a committee, at the chapter level or as a member of the Board—will tell you the value they receive from their active involvement with CSMFO is immeasurable.
For those individuals who are ready to take on a greater role and begin contributing to the strength of the government finance profession, we invite you to volunteer for one of the many opportunities available, and CSMFO will make every effort to fulfill your request. We also understand you may have questions about these volunteer opportunities before you commit, and we encourage you to reach out to CSMFO’s Executive Director, Melissa Dixon, who would be happy to answer your question or direct you to the appropriate CSMFO leader.
Are Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs) a Solution to Your Agency’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Challenges?
(SB 628, codified as Government Code, Title 5, Division 2, Part 1, Chapter 2.99, § 53398.50 et. seq)
In February 2012, after confirmation from the California Supreme Court a couple months earlier, the dissolution of local government redevelopment agencies (RDAs) commenced. For many years prior to this, RDAs had been a frequently used financing method for infrastructure and local economic development. With RDAs gone, local governments are faced with the double specter of aging infrastructure and the elimination of one of their most viable infrastructure and economic development financing sources. In 2014, the State Legislature approved new legislation which reworked and enhanced the 1990 infrastructure financing district law. This new legal construct was included in the Governor’s fiscal year 2014/15 budget, and its associated financing mechanisms are called Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs). EIFDs, while not an exact replacement for the former RDAs, are a new tool local governments can use to build a wide variety of infrastructure projects. They are meant to create sustainable communities and develop a community’s full economic potential. To some, EIFDs are considered “Redevelopment 2.0”.
Who may form an EIFD and what is required for formation?
A California city or county, as the lead participating agency in the formation of an EIFD, may form one. However, a prerequisite to forming an EIFD is the completion of all RDA and Successor Agency (SA) activities with the State of California. Completion of RDA/SA activities means a Finding of Completion from the Department of Finance, complete resolution of all RDA-related litigation against the State, compliance with any RDA-associated asset transfers ordered by the State Controller’s Office (SCO), and SCO completion of its review of the RDA/SA enforceable obligations.
Once these conditions are met, an agency (or group of agencies) may consider an EIFD formation.
With the RDA/SA items completed, the lead agency determines the project area(s) and improvement alternatives in collaboration with other agencies whose boundaries overlap with the proposed EIFD. Once the project scope is complete, the lead agency’s legislative body adopts a resolution
of intention to establish an EIFD. The legislative body then designates an appropriate official (may be the city/county engineer or a consultant) to prepare an Infrastructure Financing Plan (IFP), which should be consistent with the general plan of the city or county. The IFP is the formal plan
which encapsulates the inter-agency collaboration mentioned above and identifies the actual infrastructure improvements to be included in the EIFD, how the improvements will be funded, and how long the EIFD will be in existence. A public hearing process for EIFD formation is required
after all affected agencies have reviewed and approved the IFP. Assuming the public hearing process is successful, the lead agency will establish a Public Financing Authority (PFA) to act as the governing body of the EIFD, and then approve a resolution of formation of the EIFD, approval
of the IFP, and provide for the division of property taxes per the property tax increment revenue identified in the IFP. It is important to note that funding sources for the projects in the IFP may include any combination of: the EIFD’s share of ad valorem property tax increment, governmental
or private loans, grants, bonds, assessments, special taxes, and fees. Additional steps, including a balloting of qualified electors, are required if the IFP includes debt issuance as part of the financing sources, including tax increment bonds. EIFDs may exist for 45 years after the issuance of bonds or receipt of loan funding. Biennial financial and performance audits are required, and are to be conducted according to California State Controller guidelines.
How is an EIFD’s financing secured?
The foundational revenue source for EIFDs is pledged property tax increment from the participating agencies. The EIFD’s revenue is the difference between the current year aggregate EIFD property taxes and the aggregate EIFD property taxes of the year prior to EIFD formation among EIFD
participating agencies. Ad valorem property taxes for schools, both primary/secondary and post-secondary, cannot be used for EIFDs.
How is an EIFD governed?
As previously mentioned, a Public Financing Authority (PFA) is the governing body of the EIFD. The composition of the PFA Board of Directors depends on the number of participating agencies. If there is only one participating agency, five members make up the PFA: three members from the
agency’s legislative body and two members of the public, chosen by the agency. Alternatively, if multiple agencies participate in the EIFD, the size of the PFA can be larger; however the majority of the PFA governing board must still be made up of members of the participating agencies’
legislative bodies, and include a minimum of two members of the public, as chosen by the participating agencies’ legislative bodies. The PFA is a local public agency and as such, all PFA board members are subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act, California Public Records Act, and the
Political Reform Act of 1974. No PFA members receive compensation; however, they are eligible for reimbursement of EIFD expenses they incur.
What types of improvements can be funded?
EIFDs may finance a broad spectrum of infrastructure items (purchase, construction, expansion, improvement, seismic retrofit, or rehabilitation) that provide communitywide significance to the EIFD or the surrounding community with a minimum useable life of 15 years, including the following:
- Transit—highways, interchanges, ramps and bridges, arterials, parking facilities and transit priority projects
- Wastewater—sewage treatment facilities, water reclamation plants and interceptor pipelines
- Water—treatment and collection facilities
- Stormwater—flood control levees and dams, retention basins and drainage channels
- Childcare facilities
- Recreation—parks, general recreation facilities, and open space
- Solid waste—general solid facilities, transfer stations and associated solid waste vehicles
- Brownfield restoration and environmental mitigation
- Former military base reuse and remediation
- Repayment of funds transferred to a military base reuse authority
- Low and moderate income housing—construction, acquisition or rehabilitation
- Private use industrial—structure construction, acquisition or rehabilitation
- Greenhouse gas mitigation (sustainable communities strategies)
- Polanco RDA Act—hazardous site remediation, etc.
- Any portion of former RDA project, as long as the agency has finished the RDA wind down
- Mixed income housing is allowed, but is restricted to occupancy by low/moderate income families. These facilities can include onsite child care, after-school and social services.
The EIFD improvements can be an upgrade, supplemental, rehabilitative or to make existing facilities more sustainable. In addition, the improvements do not need to be located within the EIFD; however they must have a tangible connection to the work of the EIFD. Planning and design
work directly related to all of the improvement types mentioned above may be included in the IFP. EIFDs may reimburse a developer as long as the developer’s entire project is located within the EIFD area. Notable exclusions of allowable EIFD expenditures include routine maintenance, repair
work, and costs related to ongoing operations or provision of service.
An EIFD is a broad-based, multi-faceted financing mechanism that local agencies can use as a present-day proxy to RDAs to build infrastructure and enhance overall economic development. Their strength is in the tremendous range of allowable infrastructure projects and the greater duration of existence. This solution may greatly benefit communities within and around your agency, and as such, could be worthy of greater exploration.
Mike Sylvia, CPFO
Sr. Project Manager, Public Finance
949.655.3900, ext. 2383
As a Certified Public Finance Officer with 15 years’ experience,
Mike uses his deep knowledge of public finance and assessment
engineering to help agencies find solutions to one of their toughest
challenges — finding funding to move projects ahead. He has been
involved in a wide variety of public finance projects as an agency
finance manager, project manager and financial analyst utilizing
the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982, Improvement
Act of 1913, Municipal Bond Act of 1915, Benefit Assessment Act of
1982, Landscape and Lighting Act of 1972, Business Improvement
District Act of 1994, and various fee districts. Mike has a thorough
understanding of the statutory and constitutional procedures
and requirements for both the formation and administration of
Assessment Districts and Special Tax Districts. He is a member of the
California Society of Municipal Finance Officers and the Government
Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
GASB 68 IS UPON US – BUT THERE IS HELP!
By Brent Mason
City of Riverside, CA
As most, if not all, of you know, this June 30 is when GASB 68 is required to be implemented. In case you’ve just been un “cryogenically frozen” or “unavailable” the last couple years, this is the new standard that radically changes the manner in which governmental entities will account for pension expense and the related liability. It will require a very substantive effort on the part of financial statement preparers to implement the new requirements…even understanding the “new jargon” will be a challenge!
However, as in any good western, when the “white hat” rides in and saves the day, a whitepaper has just been issued by the California Committee on Municipal Accounting (CCMA) to provide a roadmap for statement preparers to use in implementing the new standard. Regardless, this is going to be a great challenge, but the whitepaper will serve as a huge help in getting over this hurdle.
The document is long and may prove daunting to the less technical of us, but given the option of trying to go it alone with just the original pronouncement in hand, you’re going to find yourself saying “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
There are things you need to be taking care of already, such as reaching out to your pension plan and requesting the specific information needed from them that you will use in your implementation effort. Additionally you want to be discussing with your auditors the implementation strategy you are considering and getting their thoughts on this issue as it relates to your specific agency. The CPA community has been addressing this for quite a while and will likely have good suggestions/ guidance for you as well.
This specific whitepaper was drafted to be helpful to all cities in California; not just those served by PERS. However, because most cities are contracted with PERS, and because there was no need to duplicate efforts of the AICPA (who have already issued a whitepaper addressing GASB 68 on a national basis), the CCMA’s document focuses on issues more specific to California, which are primarily issues associated with implementation for contracted PERS agencies.
The CCMA whitepaper can be found at http://www.cacities.org/GASB68-ImplementationGuide. It represents a several-month effort on the part of many professionals who worked diligently to develop a tool that would be useful and comprehensive for financial statement preparers as they implement the various requirements of the new standard. There are sample journal entries required by the pronouncement as well as sample footnote disclosures. Use it as a guide (not a boiler plate) for your own disclosure accounting and reporting purposes.
Good luck as you embark on this effort and I would recommend to get started NOW!!
CALL FOR SESSIONS
The California Society of Municipal Finance Officers is the statewide organization serving all California municipal finance professionals. We promote excellence in financial management through innovation, continuing education and the professional development of our members. CSMFO members are deeply involved in the key issues facing cities, counties, and special districts in the State of California. We value honesty and integrity, and adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct. CSMFO currently has approximately 1,600 members.
We are currently seeking proposals for the 2016 Annual Conference concurrent sessions that address issues of interest to California municipal finance professionals, provide education and offer innovative solutions. This is an excellent opportunity to present your ideas, solutions, experience, and/or research to over 900 municipal finance officers. All CSMFO members and nonmembers are invited to submit. Proposals are being accepted through June 30, 2015. Please use the attached form for your submission and follow the instructions on the form. If you have already submitted an idea to the Program Committee, please re-submit using the attached form.
The annual conference features approximately 30-35 concurrent sessions in five or six educational tracks. Concurrent sessions are lecture-style featuring one to three speakers.
Topics should be educational, non-commercial, and provide value to a wide-ranging group of attendees. Sales pitches or marketing for products and/or services submitted as proposals will not be considered. Ideally, sessions should include at least one practitioner from a public agency. Since concurrent sessions are typically 1 hour and 15 minutes, the number of speakers should generally be limited to three.
Scheduling of sessions will likely be determined before November 30, 2015. CSMFO will notify you if your proposal is selected.
Session proposal form found here.
Welcome New CSMFO Members!
- Trevor Atashkarian, Accountant, Mill Valley, North Coast Chapter
- Sylvia Baker, Inglewood, Central Los Angeles Chapter
- MaCristina Balderas, Financial Manager, Los Angeles Unified School District, Central Los Angeles Chapter
- Kimberly Bates, Accounting Assistant II, Monterey Regional Pollution Control Agency, Monterey Bay Chapter
- Jack Campbell, Director of Sales, GovInvest Inc., Central Los Angeles Chapter
- Inderdeep Dhillon, Principal Accountant, San Jose, Peninsula Chapter
- Charles Fedak, Partner, Fedak & Brown LLP, Orange County Chapter
- Ryan Hallett, Senior Office Specialist, Laguna Beach, Orange County Chapter
- Robert Hartwig, AGM-Administrative Services, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Chapter
- Frank Hernandez, Finance & Budget Analyst, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Peninsula Chapter
- Willard Holt, Interim Treasury and Customer Svcs Mgr, Santa Ana, Orange County Chapter
- Brittney Melo, Management Aide, Chino, Inland Empire Chapter
- Eric Patrick, Senior Accountant, Rancho Cucamonga, Inland Empire Chapter
- David Randall, Financial Services Manager II, San Mateo, Peninsula Chapter
- Mark Reynolds, Finance Director, Apple Valley Fire Protection District, Desert Mountain Chapter
- Lydia Rossiter, Senior Management Analyst, Santa Clara Valley Water District, South Bay Chapter
- Susan Sohal, Accounting Supervisor, Citrus Heights, Sacramento Valley Chapter
- Monica Suua, Director of Finance, Beach Cities Health District, South Bay Chapter
- Janine Tedrow, Senior Accountant, Petaluma, North Coast Chapter
- Terri Tsai, Senior Accountant, City of Monterey Park, San Gabriel Valley Chapter
- Mark Welch, Finance Director, Capitola, Monterey Bay Chapter
Central Coast Chapter Meeting – June 11, 12:00am – 1:30pm – Rosa’s Restaurant, Pismo Beach, CA
Government Finances and Fiscal Solutions
Speaker: Marianna Marysheva-Martinez, Managing Director, Public Sector Solutions for FTI Consulting
Central Los Angeles & South Bay Chapters Holiday Luncheon – June 25, 11:30pm – 1:30pm – Veterans Memorial Park Building, Culver City, CA
It’s the Affordable Care Act & I can Cry if I want To!
-Speakers: Regina Horton & Laurie LoFranco from Keenan & Associates
Orange County Chapter and CMTA Division IX – June 25, 11:30am – 1:30pm – Dave & Busters, Irvine, CA
Common Investment Policy Mistakes
-Speaker: David Schiffman, First Empire Securities
Power of Fiscal Policies / Long Term Financial Planning, City of Rocklin
– June 23, 8:30am – 4:30pm
– Instructed by Bill Statler
Intermediate Governmental Accounting, City of Modesto City Hall
– June 19, 8:00am – 5:00pm
–Presented by Susan Mayer
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.