Category: Finance

Retirement Plans Use Too Much Jargon, Say Employees

City governments, in their roles as employers, are striving to attract talent that can support the critical work of serving communities. However, the wages of state and local government employees tend to be lower than for private sector employees with similar backgrounds. So, how can municipal employers provide a more competitive alternative? One way is

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Federal Shutdown Ends, but Damage to Cities Remains

Update: On Friday, January 25, President Trump and Congressional leaders announced a short-term agreement to reopen the federal government, ending the longest government shutdown in American history. Local leaders are encouraged that our federal partners are ready to put forward a bipartisan bill to end the government shutdown, but the damage has been done —

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What a Lapse in Appropriations Could Mean for Cities

As a partial government shutdown continues into its third week, the impacts of a funding lapse for affected agencies are beginning to become more visible. Among the seven federal spending bills that lapsed in December is the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. While the name indicates that it provides funding for the Department

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How Cutting Printing Costs Helped Restore a Park

I recently met with a councilman from SeaTac, a small city in the inner-ring suburb of Seattle that boasts about 30,000 residents. As a new councilman in the middle of his first term, Peter Kwon initially asked a lot of questions. And like many of our city leaders and their staff, Councilman Kwon was already

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How One City Uses a Trust to Control Pension Costs

Pensions are consuming local governments’ budgets, and many are struggling to make their payments. In Walnut Creek, California, as in a lot of cities around the nation, revenues are flattening, while expenses for employee benefits and basic services are rising. Not to mention, as our cities continue to age, infrastructure needs are ever present. Even

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Working Together to Strengthen Our Cities

This is a guest post by Tim Sloan, CEO and president, Wells Fargo & Company Wells Fargo is pleased to partner with cities around the U.S. to improve the communities where we all live and work. We’ve been doing it for generations, and it’s a part of our company culture that makes me most proud! I

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How City Fiscal Conditions Changed in 2018

This is an excerpt from our new City Fiscal Conditions report. The 2018 City Fiscal Conditions survey indicates that slightly more finance officers than last year are optimistic about the fiscal capacity of their cities. However, the level of optimism is still far below recent years. Tax revenue growth is experiencing a year-over-year slowdown, with

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City Fiscal Conditions – A Five-Year Review

In advance of the release of our annual City Fiscal Conditions report on September 13, this blogpost highlights recent historical trends in municipal finance. The community of Bristol straddles the border between Tennessee and Virginia — one name, two cities, and two starkly different realities. And in today’s economy, Bristol, Tennessee, is thriving while Bristol, Virginia,

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Pensions, Retiree Health Benefits, and Your City’s Bond Rating

This is a guest post by Les Richmond, Vice President and Actuary of Build America Mutual (BAM). Credit ratings are the most visible (and sometimes only) independent assessment of the fiscal status of a city’s government – they have a direct impact on borrowing costs and the affordability of infrastructure investments, and they can also

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Tensions Rise for Local Leaders Trying to Fund Pensions

In light of our just-released State of the Cities 2018 report, this post is the first in a series of blogs that captures what mayors have been talking about most in 2018. According to this May’s State of the Cities 2018 report, intergovernmental relations was a topic of concern for many mayors. Interestingly, mayors across the country

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