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Exploring Utility Rate Affordability - Part 1

By Jeffrey P. Rowe, CPA, Partner, February 14, 2019
Latest News

The affordability of water and sewer rates has long been an issue. Now the problem is gaining even more attention.

Aging infrastructure, EPA mandates due to public health and environmental concerns, conservation, delayed maintenance, the polarization of household income in the U.S. and population shifts are all driving factors affecting utility rates and charges on a national level. These factors are, in part, why utility bill increases have outpaced both general inflation and increases in household income. In fact, researchers at Michigan State University project that water may no longer be affordable for as many as 35.6% of American households within the next five years (Research Article - A Burgeoning Crisis? A Nationwide Assessment of the Geography of Water Affordability in the United States © 2017 Mack, Wrase).

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Bonds 101 - Part 1

By Lindsay Simonetto, Principal, February 14, 2019
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This article is part of a series to provide an overview of the bond issuance process.

Let’s start with the basics. What are bonds?

• A debt security providing external funds for current expenditures. Bonds are similar to a mortgage in that dollars are borrowed upfront and repaid over a fixed term.
• The governmental entity is commonly referred to as the issuer or borrower and the investor is known as the bondholder, lender or purchaser.
• When bonds are issued, a repayment source is pledged and certain bond covenants are outlined for the issuer to follow through the repayment term.

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Upcoming Deadlines

By Paige E. Sansone, CPA, Partner, January 28, 2019
Latest News

As the New Year begins, it is time to focus on wrapping up the previous year. To close out December, all records must be posted and reconciled with bank statements as promptly as possible. Utilities and other departments maintaining separate records must also be reconciled. Below are upcoming deadlines prescribed by the State Board of Accounts for the first few months of the year. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list; you should check the State Board of Accounts Accounting and Compliance Guidelines Manuals for more information at http://www.in.gov/sboa.

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Road Funding Analysis - Part 2

By Andy Campbell, January 17, 2019
Latest News

“What about our roads?” We keep hearing this question across the state from communities large and small. In response, we have talked with communities about the options available. The answer usually comes down to one word, millage. The money coming from the State of Michigan is not going to be enough to handle the problems that have accumulated over time. Raising millage one way or another is the answer.

The next inevitable discussion amongst the community leaders is, “would our voters support a tax increase?” That is the million-dollar question, and the only way to get an answer is to ask. All across the state, communities of all sizes and types (cities, villages and townships) are voting road millages. These millages have varied from less than 1.0 mill to 6.0 mills. A funny thing is happening as well; many are passing (including the 6.0 mill plan). Communities are finding out that now is the time to tackle the roads. Even the new governor’s campaign slogan was all about roads. The average voter does not understand why their community cannot afford to keep the roads in perfect condition. People are fed up (maybe not at the right people) and they are voting ‘yes’ for many of their communities’ programs.

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News Release

By Umbaugh Announcements, January 10, 2019
Latest News

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Special Announcement:  Exciting News!

By Umbaugh Announcements, January 10, 2019
Latest News

We have great news. Umbaugh is pleased to announce our intention to join with Springsted Inc. (Springsted) and Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP (Baker Tilly) to become one of the strongest municipal advisory and public finance practices in the business.

As you know, Umbaugh has been recognized as one of the fastest growing CPA firms in the nation. We are always looking for ways to improve our services, provide greater value to you and deepen our relationship. This strategic combination with Springsted and Baker Tilly brings together what we believe to be a unique set of resources to become a premiere municipal advisory practice. We remain dedicated to the public sector, serving state and local governmental units, public schools, utilities and non-profit organizations and most of all, continue our dedication to you, our loyal clients.

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Promotion to Principal

By Umbaugh Announcements, January 03, 2019
Latest News

Brock Bowsher works in Umbaugh’s School and Library Practice Group and assists school districts in the areas of comprehensive financial strategies and debt management.
Before joining Umbaugh in 2016, Brock worked with the Avon Community School Corporation and the Northern Wells Community Schools.

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Promotion to Principal

By Umbaugh Announcements, January 03, 2019
Latest News

Lindsay Simonetto joined Umbaugh in 2008 and has worked on a wide range of projects in various practice areas. She has assisted schools, counties, cities and towns, hospitals, and other local governments in bond financings, long-term financial planning, budgeting and more. Much of her focus is spent helping schools address capital needs through the issuance of bond financings.

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Preparing for Year-End

By Daniel A. Hedden, CPA, Partner, December 13, 2018
Latest News

It is hard to believe that 2018 is almost over! With the rolling of the calendar comes the need to close out the accounting year, prepare for annual reports and prepare for a strong start to the upcoming year. There are some things to consider now to make the year-end process easier and ease your workload in 2019. Below is a year-end checklist to consider. In addition, please consult the year-end duties set forth in the State Board of Accounts bulletins.

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Annual Financial Reports - Financial Management Reports

By Eric Walsh, CPA, Partner, December 13, 2018
Latest News

As the end of the year approaches it’s important to keep in mind the reporting requirements that municipalities will face in the New Year. On the top of that list is the Annual Financial Report (AFR) that must be submitted on Gateway by March 1st. The AFR requires that municipalities report cash and investment balances, receipt and expenditure detail for each fund, capital asset balances as well as a variety of other information. This reporting requirement can be time consuming for clerk-treasurers and financial staff.

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