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Posts for Budgets and Budgeting

Beyond Budget Suggestions for 2018

Beyond Budget Suggestions for 2018

August 8, 2017 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

MRSC's 2018 Budget Suggestions is now available! This blog post previews the publication along with recently passed legislation that will impact local government budget planning across the state. 

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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 survey conducted by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC), public officials identified budget topics as the number two area of interest.  (The top topic of choice was economic development.)  This aligns with our experience over the last 25 years as we’ve worked with elected and appointed officials across the state on improving our budget skills.  In this ar...

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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

As local government officials begin the process of developing their 2017 budgets, they face an environment of increased uncertainty: an uncertain economy, uncertain levels of inflation and wage demands, changing consumer behavior and revenue yields, and uncertainty regarding the demand for services. These are ongoing uncertainties that elected officials encounter annually when reviewing 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

I know, I know. Budget already? You just adopted your budget (or if you are like us and have a biennial budget, you just finished the mid-biennium review). But wait! If you want to have a great budget experience next fall (and who doesn’t), then it is not too early to think about how to lay the best founda...

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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

Having just experienced the most prolonged recession since the Great Depression, governmental leaders are well aware of the impact of the economic cycle on their jurisdiction’s fiscal well-being. As county and city legislative bodies approach the task of crafting a budget for the next fiscal year, they are compelled to address a number of critical issues: what will the economy look like i...

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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

By now most of you have spent weeks, if not months, preparing your preliminary budgets. Once completed, the required public hearings and the (sometimes lengthy) review process with your elected officials can begin, leading ultimately to the adoption of the final budget before the end of the year. One of the often overlooked items in this process is the year-end budget amendment for the current ...

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Budget Hearings: How Many Do You Need to Hold?

Budget Hearings: How Many Do You Need to Hold?

October 30, 2015 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

The recent MRSC webinar, The Budget Process: Strategies for Success, reviewed the statutory requirements for budgeting by local government entities across the state. This webinar spurred numerous inquiries here at MRSC, and the one question asked by a variety of jurisdictions was, &ldquo...

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Key Legislative Changes That May Affect Your Budget

Key Legislative Changes That May Affect Your Budget

August 13, 2015
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

The gas tax, TBD reform, marijuana excise taxes, and other legislative changes that are likely to impact 2016 budgets for local governments.

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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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Redmond Releases Budget as Interactive Web Tool

Redmond Releases Budget as Interactive Web Tool

February 13, 2015 by Josh Mahar
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Public Participation

Trying to figure out how to engage your community better in the complex world of local government budgets? Redmond may have an answer for you. The city of 55,000 has come out with a new online tool, Open Budget Redmond, aimed at demystifying the budgeting process. The interactive web portal offers simple filtering and analytics tools that allow citizens, not to mention councilmembers and other city leaders, to quickly and easily dig into various sections of the city’s 2015-2016 biennial budget.

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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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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?

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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How Many Budget Hearings...?

How Many Budget Hearings...?

August 29, 2013 by Judy Cox
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

 Labor Day is coming... next week!  And, for many cities, this marks the beginning of their budget preparation season.  Others have started already.
I tell myself...

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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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