Fiscal Health for Local Governments

Fiscal Health for Local Governments

1st Edition - December 11, 2003

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  • Authors: Beth Honadle, Beverly Cigler, James Costa
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780123547514
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080472782

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Description

Fiscal Health for Local Governments offers a how-to approach to identifying and solving financial problems. Its principal selling point lies in its assumptions: instead of using the vocabulary and research agendas of economist, finance scholars, and political scientists, it will appeal to readers who lack sophisticated knowledge in these areas and nevertheless need practical advice. The book stems from the Fiscal Health Education Program, an applied economics program at the University of Minnesota. It uses three measures of fiscal health — financial condition, trend analysis, and financial trend monitoring system — as the basis for advocating particular fiscal strategies. The book examines the tools that can be used to assess the condition of a local government's fiscal health and some of the policy causes or remedies for certain situations, as well as some of the strategies governments can pursue to maintain and improve health. It will serve as a primer for readers interested in understanding financial processes and alternatives, and as a practical guide for those who need access to fiscal measurement tools.

Key Features

  • How-to approach will appeal to readers who lack sophisticated knowledge
  • Contains discussion questions and anonymous case studies of actual cities and municipalities
  • Presents practical methods for identifying and solving common fiscal problems

Readership

Academics and students working in budget and finance areas in the fields of public administration, public affairs, government, political science, accounting, planning, and policy analysis; budget managers in small and medium-sized cities and rural municipalities, almost exclusively in the US.

Table of Contents

  • PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    CONTENTS
    CHAPTER 1
    Introduction and Overview
    Scope of the Book and Audience
    Why Fiscal Health Matters
    Factors Affecting Local Government Fiscal Health
    The Fiscal Manager's Situation
    A Fiscal Capacity Framework
    Summary
    Discussion Questions
    References
    CHAPTER 2
    Fiscal Health Literature: Drifts and Reflections
    What is Fiscal Health? A Look at the Terminology
    Influences on Fiscal Health Revisited
    Measuring Fiscal Health
    What Governments Do About Fiscal Problems
    Conclusion
    References
    CHAPTER 3
    Macro Trends Affecting Local Governments
    Demographic and Social Trends
    Telecommunications Infrastructure, Technology, and the Global Economy
    Institutional and Policy Fragmentation
    Increased Problem Complexity
    Increased Demand for Services
    Increased Citizen, Group, and Elected Official Activism
    Increased Interest in Regional Issues
    Looming Structural Budget Gaps
    Conclusion
    Discussion Questions
    References
    CHAPTER 4
    Financing Trends and Options
    Fiscal Federalism
    Size of Government
    Local Response to the Macro Trends
    Local Revenue Sources
    Regional Sprawl and Local Finances
    Intergovernmental Assistance
    Changing Patterns of State Assistance
    Local Tax Options
    Property Tax Revisions and Improved Administration
    User Charges and Fees 1
    Restructuring the System of Local Government
    Public Authorities and Special Districts
    Tax-Base Sharing
    Transfer of Powers and Intergovernmental Agreements
    Trends Interacting with Revenue Diversification 110
    Conclusions
    References
    CHAPTER 5
    Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) Options
    Types of Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) Options
    Criteria for Evaluating ASD Options
    Perceived Barriers to Intermunicipal Cooperation
    Assessing Alternative Service Delivery Options
    Analysis of Current Operations
    Cost Comparisons
    Principles of Successful Contracting
    Contract Preparation and Negotiation
    Conclusion
    Discussion Questions
    References
    CHAPTER 6
    Tools for Analyzing Local Fiscal Health
    Tool #1: Ten-Point Test of Fiscal Condition
    Application of the Ten-Point Test to Pleasant County
    Tool #2: Fiscal Capacity Analysis
    Tool #3: The Financial Trend Monitoring System
    Conclusion
    Discussion Questions
    References
    CHAPTER 7
    Analysis and Interpretation
    Case Study I: Glendon County
    Case Study II: Sharpelle County
    Case Study III: The City of Meirwood
    Discussion Questions
    CHAPTER 8
    Fiscal Effects of Local Government Boundary Adjustments
    Mixed Lessons from Experience
    A General Framework
    A Case Example
    The Prediction
    Intergovernmental Aid Impact
    Impact of Consolidation on Debt Burden
    Property Tax Impact
    Impact on North Branch Area School District
    Impact on Costs Associated with Detachment and Annexation
    Impact of Consolidation on Local Service Costs
    Impacts on Farmers
    The Reality
    Intergovernmental Aid Impact
    Debt Burden
    Property Tax Impact
    Expenditures Since Consolidation
    Staffing Changes
    Summary and Conclusions of the Case Study
    General Considerations
    Discussion Questions
    References
    CHAPTER 9
    Practical Strategies for Local Fiscal Health
    Be More Efficient
    Expand the Tax Base
    Reduce the Demand for Services
    Shift Costs to Nonresidents
    Secure New Sources of Revenue
    Increase Spending Flexibility
    Improve Management of Existing Resources
    Diversify Revenue Sources
    Summary and Conclusion
    Discussion Questions
    References
    CHAPTER 10
    Conclusion
    References
    INDEX
    ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Product details

  • No. of pages: 271
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2003
  • Published: December 11, 2003
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780123547514
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080472782

About the Authors

Beth Honadle

Affiliations and Expertise

Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA

Beverly Cigler

Affiliations and Expertise

Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, USA

James Costa

Affiliations and Expertise

Suntrust Bank, Atlanta, GA

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