Cost Accounting in Local Government

The Perfect Fiscal Storm

My hometown is asking voters to approve a sales tax increase of 1.25% in November 2020. I know they need the money, but it is certainly a crapshoot whether they will get it. The plan is to frame the tax for infrastructure improvements but to ask for a general tax that can be used for […]

Accessory Dwelling Unit Impact Fee Calculation

In July of 2017, I wrote my first RCS article about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in which I merely identified the differing types of ADUs.  In November of that year I wrote about the lack of municipal service demand information about ADUs needed to calculate an empirical stand-alone ADU development impact fee (DIF). In lieu […]

Development’s Winners and Losers

There are four players in the development game: developers, contractors, landowners and residents. Each plays a critical role, and each has goals that are not necessarily shared by the others.

Just be yourself and don’t compare

In just about every project we work on our client city asks for a fee comparison to neighboring cities. And just about every time we reply with the remark that fee comparisons are not useful. No two fee schedules are alike, and in the end, an examination of other fee schedules just proves this point. […]

The Five Findings for Development Impact Fees

Most every municipal finance officer is aware of the five findings (in Government Code §66000) required to adopt development impact fees.  If not, here they are: The purpose of the fee. The use of the fee. The relationship between the use of the fee and type of development paying the fee. The relationship between the […]

Is it bad to show a profit?

We all know that government is not allowed to make a profit on the services that it provides.  While there are exceptions with the rental or use of a city asset, such as a marina, golf course, or meeting rooms, this is generally true.  Article XIIIB, Section 8(c) of the State constitution states that: Proceeds […]

A Tribute to Doug Ayres – Part I

Have you heard of Doug Ayres? If you are old enough, you might have worked for him or taken a class from him. Or, like me, you might have had an experience where he was trying to sell his consulting services to your city. My first experience was the latter. I was Controller for the […]

Do Development Fees Affect Home Sales?

At about every other Council or town-hall meeting I attend there is the question about whether development fees (planning fees, permit fees and impact fees) affect housing sales. More specifically, I am asked if the suggested fee increases deter housing sales and economic growth within that community. At the dais, I have little time to […]

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