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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Budgets and Budgeting

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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Key Takeaways from the AWC Budget and Finance Management Workshop

Key Takeaways from the AWC Budget and Finance Management Workshop

September 4, 2019 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Financial Management

This blog covers some key financial management takeaways from the 2019 Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Budgeting and Financial Management Workshop.

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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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Time To Set The Policy Framework For Your Next Budget

Time To Set The Policy Framework For Your Next Budget

May 16, 2019 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

Developing sound policy goals as a preface to budget planning is one of the most important ways an elected official can make a real difference in their community. 

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Trust: The Secret Ingredient in Your Budget Deliberations

Trust: The Secret Ingredient in Your Budget Deliberations

November 8, 2018 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

Can trust building be a part of a local government's budget process? In this post Finance Consultant Mike Bailey argues that trust is a critical component to creating a high-functioning team that can then make the best possible decisions in how to serve their constituents. 

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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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Having Great Budget Discussions

Having Great Budget Discussions

March 26, 2018 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

Budget discussions offer local governments the opportunity to identify concerns, priorities, and goals. It's also a great opportunity to get and provide updates on key issues, challenges, and accomplishments across the organization. Finance Advisor Mike Bailey offers suggestions on how to make your budget conversations work more efficiently.

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Fiscal Feast or Famine: A Survival Guide

Fiscal Feast or Famine: A Survival Guide

June 27, 2017 by Stan Finkelstein
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Council-Commission Advisor , Financial Management

What can local governments do to avoid the fiscal cliff? Advisor Stan Finkelstein argues that the best defense is to develop a multiyear forecast of anticipated resources and expenditures.

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It’s Time to Sharpen those Budget Skills

It’s Time to Sharpen those Budget Skills

July 7, 2016 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

In a recent AWC survey, public officials identified budget topics as their second most important area of interest (after economic development). This article explores the survey results more deeply and sees how they align ewith the efforts of organizations like MRSC and AWC to help you create your best budget.

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The Dynamics of Public Sector Budgeting - Who is the Constituency?

The Dynamics of Public Sector Budgeting - Who is the Constituency?

June 15, 2016 by Stan Finkelstein
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Council-Commission Advisor

This post attempts to broaden the budgetary discussion and encourage local officials to recognize the need to address the longer term needs of their jurisdictions when adopting budgets.

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Does Your City have Too Many Funds?

Does Your City have Too Many Funds?

April 14, 2016 by Randy Hinchliffe
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor , Financial Management , Fund Balance and Reserves

Not too long ago, I read a short tidbit in one of the local newspapers about the adoption of a nearby city’s budget. I was struck by the fact that the city had 28 different funds in its budget. With so many funds to account for, it got me thinking about the criteria for establishing funds and when a city might have too many funds.

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It’s Not Too Early to Think about Laying the Foundation for Your Next Budget

It’s Not Too Early to Think about Laying the Foundation for Your Next Budget

February 9, 2016 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

If you want to have a great budget experience next fall (and who doesn't?), then it is never too early to think about how to lay the best foundation. Building a budget starts with a strong policy discussion and early policy guidance.

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Budgeting During Periods of Economic Instability

Budgeting During Periods of Economic Instability

December 4, 2015 by Stan Finkelstein
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

Many local governments have been significantly affected by the Great Recession and its aftermath, making it more difficult to address a variety of critical financial issues. This blog post provides seven rules of prudent fiscal management.

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4 Budgeting Tools to Mobilize Citizen Engagement

4 Budgeting Tools to Mobilize Citizen Engagement

November 30, 2015
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

We have gathered information on some of the most popular online budgeting tools to help you understand what’s out there and decide if one might be a good fit for your jurisdiction.

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Year-End Budget Amendment: What To Do and When To Do It

Year-End Budget Amendment: What To Do and When To Do It

November 20, 2015 by Shawn Hunstock
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

This blog post provides some suggested steps for the year-end budget amendment process, along with a few considerations you may want to keep in mind.

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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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Building the Budget around the Community it Serves

Building the Budget around the Community it Serves

June 23, 2015 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

Redmond Finance Director Mike Bailey explains how Redmond shifted its budgeting process to better focus on citizen priorities.
 

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Heads Up – Budget Amendments

Heads Up – Budget Amendments

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

When and how must budget amendments be adopted, and how does this overlap with the "open period? The budget amendment deadline is December 31, but this can create complications with the "open period" in early January.

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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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Fall is in the Air – and Budget Workshops are Filling Your Agendas

September 11, 2014 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

You can tell that summer is winding down. The nights are longer – and cooler; Seahawk football has returned; and councils are about to start their workshops to review the preliminary budget. While the Seahawks are always an interesting subject, this article will focus on how to make the best use of your upcoming budget workshops and hopefully create the “best budget” for your organization.

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Strategic Fiscal Management - Avoiding the Next Fiscal Cliff: Do's and Don'ts

June 1, 2014 by Stan Finkelstein
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Council-Commission Advisor

During the past five years, many counties and cities have struggled with shrinking resources, rising health care and energy costs and a citizenry clamoring for their governments to sustain and enhance services. The question often arises as to whether local officials could have initiated strategies prior to the start of the "great recession" that would have enabled them to better maintain revenues...

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The Economy is Better - So Why is My Budget So Hard To Balance?

December 1, 2013 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

You may have seen some of the headlines recently: "Boeing: Record 777X order placed in Dubai"; "Many small business owners are saying they're ready to hire"; "S&P 500 trades above all-time high"; "Construction spending up 45% over last year"; "Retail sales grow again". But if you've looked at your budget forecasts, they don't...

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Do We Really Need to Pass a Budget by Year’s End?

Do We Really Need to Pass a Budget by Year’s End?

November 20, 2013 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

Is it really necessary for our city or county to adopt a budget by December 31? I mean, how bad could it be if we don’t? It could be bad! State law requires that cities and counties adopt a budget for ...

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When One Budget Closes Another One Opens (But Where’s the Cash?)

When One Budget Closes Another One Opens (But Where’s the Cash?)

January 29, 2013 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

It may seem too soon to be discussing budget questions on how to deal with your ending cash balance, or maybe too late; but, we’re still asked about the proper way to handle some of the uncertainty...

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Can We Amend Our 2012 Budget after the Year Has Ended?(and Other Year-End Issues)

November 29, 2012 by Judy Cox
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

During the last couple weeks, our office has received some calls/emails about passing amendments to the 2012 budget during 2013. That got me thinking about an article that Toni Nelson wrote for our “Finance Advisor” column some years back. (For those of you who do not know her, Toni was the Small Cities Specialist for the Washington State Auditor's Office for 11 years and the Clerk/Treasurer for...

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