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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts by Toni Nelson

Budget Hearings: How Many Do You Need to Hold?

Budget Hearings: How Many Do You Need to Hold?

October 11, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Legislative Body

One question we get asked often this time of year is: “How many public hearings are required for the budget process?" This post reviews the requirements. 

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IPD Set to Exceed 1% for Setting 2020 Property Taxes

IPD Set to Exceed 1% for Setting 2020 Property Taxes

September 10, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category:

The rate of inflation on the implicit price deflator for personal consumption expenditures over the past 12 months is 1.396%, meaning local governments may levy the full 1% increase or bank it for future use. 

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2020 Budget Suggestions is Here!

2020 Budget Suggestions is Here!

July 29, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

MRSC has just published our annual 2020 Budget Suggestions publication for cities and counties. We’ve combed through state population and economic data, as well as the state operating budget and new legislation, in order to make your jobs a little bit easier. 

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SHB 1406: Understanding the Affordable Housing Sales Tax Credit

SHB 1406: Understanding the Affordable Housing Sales Tax Credit

July 17, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category: Housing , New Legislation and Regulations , Sales and Use Taxes

SHB 1406 will provide a new affordable housing revenue stream for those counties, cities, and towns that choose to participate; But to do so, those entities must act fast. 

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Finance-Related Legislation Passed During The 2019 Session

Finance-Related Legislation Passed During The 2019 Session

May 21, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category: Finance , New Legislation and Regulations

Interested in learning more about recently passed bills that offer increased use of taxes or authority to increase certain taxes? This blog post covers the basics. 

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The Annual Financial Report for 2018 (Part 2)

The Annual Financial Report for 2018 (Part 2)

February 27, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

This 2-part series highlights changes to the annual update to accounting and reporting requirements (BARS Alerts & Overview of Significant Changes). This post focuses on changes to Notes to Financials and in the Supplemental Schedules.

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​The Annual Financial Report for 2018 (Part 1)

​The Annual Financial Report for 2018 (Part 1)

February 25, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

In this 2-part series, Financial Consultant Toni Nelson will be highlighting changes to the annual update to accounting and reporting requirements (BARS Alerts & Overview of Significant Changes) from the State Auditor's Office. Part 1 focuses on changes to the Chart of Accounts. 

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New City and County Revenue Guides Published!

New City and County Revenue Guides Published!

February 19, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues

For many years, city and county officials have relied on MRSC’s Revenue Guides to better understand their various revenue options. In partnership with the State Auditor’s Office, we’ve completely rewritten and republished these important documents.

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Year End is a Busy Time for Finance

Year End is a Busy Time for Finance

January 4, 2019 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

This article reviews some of the most important year-end reporting requirements and deadlines, including the "open period" and federal W-2, W-3, and 1099-MISC reporting requirements.

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Paid Family & Medical Leave Act: What does finance/payroll need to do?

Paid Family & Medical Leave Act: What does finance/payroll need to do?

November 27, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Leave Policies

With 2019 on the horizon, local governments must begin to comply with new Paid Family & Medical Leave requirements. Finance Consultant Toni Nelson looks at what steps the finance department should take, beginning today. 

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2019 Budget Suggestions is Here – 75th Anniversary Edition!

2019 Budget Suggestions is Here – 75th Anniversary Edition!

July 25, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

Our annual Budget Suggestions publication is here! Read about new legislation and proposed initiatives, core revenues and budget hearings, per capita shared revenue distributions, and more! Plus, to commemorate our 75th anniversary edition, take a look back in time at the original 1944 Budget Suggestions.

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Cities and Towns Must Update General Business License Ordinances ASAP!

Cities and Towns Must Update General Business License Ordinances ASAP!

July 16, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Business Licenses and Taxes

The final model business license ordinance has been released. All current BLS partner cities must adopt its provisions by October 17, and all other cities and towns with general business license requirements must adopt the model provisions by January 1.

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Salary Increases Effective July 1 for Many Special Purpose District Officials

Salary Increases Effective July 1 for Many Special Purpose District Officials

June 7, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Compensation

The salaries for many elected officials with Washington's special purpose districts are adjusted for inflation every 5 years by the Office of Financial Management, with 2018 being one such year an adjustment takes place. Finance Consultant Toni Nelson looks at which special purpose districts and officials will be impacted. 

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Is Your City Ready for the New Business Licensing Requirements?

Is Your City Ready for the New Business Licensing Requirements?

April 17, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: New Legislation and Regulations , Business Licenses and Taxes

EHB 2005, which was passed last year, is intended to simplify the administration of municipal general business licenses for the applicant. This post looks at the actions cities and towns must take to comply.

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Increased Marijuana Excise Tax Distributions for Cities and Counties

Increased Marijuana Excise Tax Distributions for Cities and Counties

March 28, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues , Marijuana

Cities and counties that allow marijuana businesses will soon be seeing an increase in state shared revenue distributions following passage of the 2018-2019 state supplemental budget. Finance Consultant Toni Nelson addresses the issue. 

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The Annual Financial Report for 2017

The Annual Financial Report for 2017

February 12, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

In this post, Finance Consultant Toni Nelson reviews the changes made by the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) in its annual update to BARS, with a focus on the new annual financial reporting requirements.

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CPI Changes for Washington Indices Effective January 1

CPI Changes for Washington Indices Effective January 1

December 14, 2017 by Toni Nelson
Category: Economic, Population and Historical Tax Data

On January 1, 2018, the Consumer Price Index will begin to implement its update for sampling areas. Finance Consultant Toni Nelson looks at how this will impact Washington local governments. 

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MRSC Expands its Financial Policy Guidance

MRSC Expands its Financial Policy Guidance

April 27, 2017 by Toni Nelson
Category: Debt , Investments , Asset Management , Financial Management , Fund Balance and Reserves

MRSC and the State Auditor’s Office Local Government Performance Center have launched a series of online resources to help Washington State local governments develop and adopt effective financial policies and procedures, while complying with SAO’s policy requirements.

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2016 Annual Financial Report: What’s new and what’s changed?

2016 Annual Financial Report: What’s new and what’s changed?

March 22, 2017 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

Changes to the 2016 Annual Financial Report that affect both cash basis- and GAAP-reporting entities.This blog post address changes to common areas that will impact both cash and GAAP reporting as well as addressing new areas that will only impact cash-basis reporting. 

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The New Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200 – Part 2

The New Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200 – Part 2

February 17, 2017 by Toni Nelson
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

Federal awards given to local governments are now subject to revised audit standards under New Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200. In the second of this 2-part series, learn more about how the certification requirement and allowable costs have changed, and what you need to do to become compliant with the new guidance. 

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Federal Single Audit and the New Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200

Federal Single Audit and the New Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200

December 2, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

Federal awards given to local governments are now subject to revised audit standards under New Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200. Learn more about these new standards and what it means for your entity's policies regarding procurement, purchasing, and grant and contract management.

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Informal AG Opinion Clarifies Lodging Tax Awards

Informal AG Opinion Clarifies Lodging Tax Awards

August 24, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Lodging Tax (Hotel-Motel Tax)

An informal opinion from the Attorney General's office states that a municipality may award lodging tax revenues to a recipient in an amount that differs from the LTAC recommendations, as long as the legislative body follows the right process.

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Local Governments Now Have Clearer Investment Options Thanks to ESB 6349

Local Governments Now Have Clearer Investment Options Thanks to ESB 6349

July 14, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Investments

The 2016 legislative session produced some bills that many of us were not necessarily tracking but that may have some impact on how you invest excess funds in the future. One such bill was ESB 6349, concerning public funds, deposits, and investments. The bill was presented at the request of ...

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Multimodal Transportation Funds Released To Cities and Counties on April 15

Multimodal Transportation Funds Released To Cities and Counties on April 15

April 14, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues

The initial distribution of this new fund should include the first two quarters of the state biennium that were missed (September 2015 and December 2015) along with the March 2016 distribution.

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What’s New for the 2015 Annual Financial Report?

What’s New for the 2015 Annual Financial Report?

March 30, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

The deadline for filing your 2015 financial report is May 29. Learn what's new in the requirements for this year.

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Assuming the Powers of Your Transportation Benefit District? Here Are Some Items to Be Aware Of

Assuming the Powers of Your Transportation Benefit District? Here Are Some Items to Be Aware Of

March 1, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Finance

An overview of accounting and reporting requirements as a result of the new legislation regarding the assumption of TBDs by cities and counties.

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Lodging Tax Reports: Changes to Reporting Process

Lodging Tax Reports: Changes to Reporting Process

February 17, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Lodging Tax (Hotel-Motel Tax)

Details on the new reporting process for lodging tax reports due on March 15, 2016.

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Who Should Receive the Utility Bill, Landlords or Tenants?

Who Should Receive the Utility Bill, Landlords or Tenants?

January 19, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Utilities - Billing and Collection

Who should receive a utility bill is just one of the many complexities local governments must determine in their utility billing procedures. This blog highlights our survey of how numerous jurisdictions handle this issue.

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Tax Changes for Recreational Services and Athletic/Fitness Facilities

Tax Changes for Recreational Services and Athletic/Fitness Facilities

December 29, 2015 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues

Recent legislation has changed the definition of a retail sale and the new change becomes effective on January 1. Here is some guidance on what this change may mean for your 2016 tax report.

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Pre-Budgeting: Three Things to Do Before Budget Season Begins

Pre-Budgeting: Three Things to Do Before Budget Season Begins

June 26, 2015 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

With a little breathing room during the summer, here's recommendations for three things to do before budget season comes in at full force.

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Beyond the Annual Financial Report: Communicating Your Agency

Beyond the Annual Financial Report: Communicating Your Agency's Financial Data

May 12, 2015 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

As financial reporting to the State Auditor's Office wraps up, Toni Nelson explains some other types of financial reports you should be providing to management and elected officials.

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Info and Checklists to Get Your Annual Financial Report Done Accurately and On Time

Info and Checklists to Get Your Annual Financial Report Done Accurately and On Time

March 23, 2015 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

Yearend issues are behind us and it’s time to focus on the preparation and submittal of the annual financial report to the Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO).  RCW 43.09.230 requires all local government entities to submit a report to the SAO within 150 days from the end of the fiscal period which makes t...

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Heads Up – Budget Amendments

Heads Up – Budget Amendments

December 4, 2014 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

Now that cities, towns, and counties are wrapping up their budgets for the coming year, it’s time to turn our attention back to the current budget and the last month or so of activity.  I say “or so” because of the open period that is used by the majority of you.

You ask, what is the “open period”?

For cities and towns, the open period refe...

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Budget Forecasting - Revenue projections not always that easy to develop

Budget Forecasting - Revenue projections not always that easy to develop

September 16, 2014 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

It is budget time again and most of you are working on revenue forecasts that will be used to develop the budget for the next fiscal period.  Accurate revenue forecasts are essential to budget execution. If the forecast grossly overestimates the amount of future revenues, the end result will be a deficit and the potential for mid-year spending cuts.  On the other hand, if the revenue forecast is...

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Using Lodging Taxes for Staff Support of LTAC (Updated)

Using Lodging Taxes for Staff Support of LTAC (Updated)

August 20, 2014 by Toni Nelson
Category: Lodging Tax (Hotel-Motel Tax)

Can you use lodging tax revenues to pay for staff support of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC)? It’s a good question that we’ve been getting lately. After conferring with the State Auditor’s Office, we’ve concluded that this...

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Using Lodging Taxes for Staff Support of LTAC

Using Lodging Taxes for Staff Support of LTAC

July 29, 2014 by Toni Nelson
Category: Lodging Tax (Hotel-Motel Tax)

Can you use lodging tax revenues to pay for staff support of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC)? It’s a good question that we’ve been getting lately. After conferring with the State Auditor’s Office, we’ve concluded that this...

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Finance 101

March 1, 2012 by Toni Nelson
Category: Finance Advisor

In anticipation of the coming budget season, we thought a discussion on the characteristics that make governmental accounting unique would be helpful.

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