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MRSC Insight Blog

Posts for April 2023

During a meeting of a small group around a table, one of the members puts his head down on the table because he is dismayed at what is happening.

Four Bad Habits Governing Bodies Should Avoid When Meeting

Whether it's due to heightened emotions or misunderstanding how to apply Roberts Rules, meetings of public agencies can sometimes go awry. Guest author and Parliamentarian Ann Macfarlane provides some procedural tips to governing bodies seeking more effective meetings. 

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Rights and Limits on Filming in Public Facilities

First Amendment Audits, when a person records an interaction with a government official or staff member, can be uncomfortable at best, and possibly even veer into harassment. How can an agency ensure the safety of staff without violating the First Amendment Rights of the auditor?

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A close up of a model of a building against scattered coins, keys, and a calculator,  representing a landlord renting property

Should You Be Collecting Leasehold Excise Tax?

Does your local government lease property to an individual, business, nonprofit, or another local or state government? If so, your agency should be collecting and reporting leasehold excise tax to the Washington Department of Revenue.

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A crowd is gathered and sitting on the grass while a band plays in a covered area at the Seattle Center

Summer Festivals and Risk Management

Summer festivals are a great way for local governments to bring people together but agencies should first undertake a variety of risk management steps to protect attendees, ensure smooth and efficient event operations, and make room for improvements for the following year.

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Shows a group of social media icons against a table at which two people are working; one on a cell phone and another on an iPad.

Social Media Policy Questions for Local Governments to Answer

Establishing effective social media policies requires your agency consider a number of questions, from what is the communications-related goal of using these tools to how the agency might address personal use of social media sites by employees and elected officials. 

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Two gold wedding rings on a stack of US $100 dollar bills

Conflict of Interest and the Spouse

Contractual situations involving spouses or partners of local government officials can present complications that are not immediately apparent, and so elected officials and governing bodies should tread carefully.

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The ladder of a toy firetruck leans against a tall stack of coins

Multi-Year Levy Lid Lifts: A Tool for Coping with Inflation?

Inflation is at a 40-year high, but property tax revenues are limited to a 1% increase each year. Multi-year levy lid lifts can help local governments cope with these inflationary pressures — but will voters approve them? Let’s look at the data.

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A red button on a yellow box labeled emergency

Emergency Powers in Washington State, Post COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic local governments operated under a series of emergency orders, some of which drew legal challenges. As these proclamations have ended, now is a good time to look at what happened to the challenges, and how (or if) they affected emergency powers.

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