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Finance Future Utility Projects with System Development Changes

By Doug L. Baldessari, CPA, Partner, November 06, 2018
Latest News

Is your utility charging System Development Charges (“SDCs”) to new users connecting to the system? SDCs, sometimes referred to as availability fees or capacity charges, have been used by sewer and water utilities for many years to provide a source of funding for future capacity-related improvement projects. New customers pay the SDC when they connect to the utility system. The funds are then held in a separate account to reduce the amount of debt needed for upcoming improvement projects. This scenario allows “growth to pay for growth.” Many times, utilities are faced with the need to expand treatment facilities because of a growing customer base. An SDC paid by new development provides funding for the expansion with minimal impact to existing customers.

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Outsourced Financial Management:  Part 1 in a Series

By Daniel A. Hedden, CPA, Partner, November 01, 2018
Latest News

Because tax revenues never go far enough, local governments are always looking for ways to save money while still providing needed services.

One strategy to consider is outsourcing the financial management functions to a qualified, independent third party. Hiring an outside advisor gives management more time to focus on the municipality’s goals, strategy and overall management of day-to-day operations.

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Understanding Assessed Valuation Q & A:  Part 1 in a Series

By Belvia B. Gray, CIPMA, Partner, November 01, 2018
Latest News

This article is part of a series to provide information relating to the components of assessed valuation, property classifications and how to analyze a unit’s tax base.

What are the components of Assessed Valuation?

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Tom Traciak Appointed to Michigan Statewide Drinking Water Advisory Council

By Umbaugh Announcements, October 25, 2018
Latest News

Umbaugh’s Tom Traciak was recently appointed to the Michigan Statewide Drinking Water Advisory Council.

Established by the recently revised Lead and Copper Rule and appointed by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director C. Heidi Grether, the Council is charged with developing lead public awareness campaign materials and advising the DEQ on efforts to educate the public about lead in drinking water. The Council will meet quarterly.

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Small Municipality Financial Guidance

By Eric Walsh, CPA, Partner, October 18, 2018
Latest News

Municipalities, both large and small, deal with a laundry list of financial issues and task each day and Umbaugh has a long history of guiding our clients through those issues. While no two municipalities are the same we have found smaller municipalities to have unique needs. These range from small, or even single, staff size to smaller budgets for triaging and financial software. Often we are called upon to assist these clients with financial tracking and reporting, both State required and locally driven at the Council level. Below are examples of service these types of clients have found valuable.

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Reduce Rate Impact by Paying Off Bonds

By Doug L. Baldessari, CPA, Partner, October 18, 2018
Latest News

Utilities in the Midwest and across the country are facing ever increasing pressure on utility rates. The rate pressure is the result of a variety of factors, including long-term control plan implementation, asset management replacements, operating increases and declining usage. These mandates and other increases in requirements are pushing the affordability limits of water and sewer utility rates. What can be done to help?

When facing necessary utility rate increases, reducing your fixed bond payments by paying off the bonds may be what the doctor ordered.

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Heidi Amspaugh Elected Vice President of NAMA

By Umbaugh Announcements, Principal, October 11, 2018
Latest News

Umbaugh’s own Heidi Amspaugh was elected Vice President of the National Association of Municipal Advisors (NAMA) during its Annual Conference in Providence, Rhode Island recently. The Vice President advances onto President a year from now. She has served on the NAMA Board for six years.

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Road Funding Analysis

By Andy Campbell, CPA, Manager, October 09, 2018
Latest News

The new Umbaugh Michigan Newsletter will focus on issues often encountered in the financial area of government finance. No matter the size of the community or type of government, communities in Michigan face many of the same challenges and opportunities. We hope that this newsletter will be informative and prompt positive discussions throughout all communities in Michigan.

Road Funding Analysis
Communities in Michigan are facing tough questions regarding their infrastructure. Many have completed, or are in the process of completing, a Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) Grant financial plan and asset inventory pertaining to their sewer system. They may have also completed a Water Asset Management Plan (WAMP) pertaining to their water system. These processes have been very informative for community leaders and administration regarding the upcoming needs of the sewer and water systems. Many of these communities have taken necessary steps to adjust rates on their systems to account for the upcoming capital needs.

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Is the Federal Reserve Behind?

By Jeffrey D. Coil, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager, October 04, 2018
Latest News

The Federal Reserve voted unanimously to raise their benchmark fed-funds rate to a range between 2-2.25%. But what does this really mean, is the Fed slowing growth and the prospect of future inflation? In our estimation, the answer is almost certainly “NO.”

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Why are State-Distributed Highway Revenues Decreasing?

By Paige E. Sansone, CPA, Partner, September 20, 2018
Latest News

While in the midst of budget season, you may have noticed that the State’s estimates of the Motor Vehicle Highway distributions for the last half of 2018 and 2019 are lower than the estimates provided last year. One explanation may be House Bill 1290 passed earlier this year. This piece of legislation changed the distribution formula of Motor Vehicle Highway revenue to local units of government.

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