Analysis Roundup – June 17, 2013

Next Analysis Roundup scheduled for June 24th


Click Here to Register for Summer 2013 Conference Registration & Hotel Info

The conference rate rooms at Shell Island Resort are sold out. The page linked above has information on alternative hotel options.

(From Heather Drennan) The last day to register is Wednesday, June 26. This allows us to work with the hotel to ensure there are enough chairs and enough food. Also, we are on the cusp of being able to add back a snack break that was cut during the recession. If we have enough registrations by the beginning of next week (or at least an email telling Justin Amos the check is in the mail), we might be able to add it back. Yum. Cookies.

Recent Job Announcements (Click on Position Title)

Budget Director – Town of Cary (Open Until 7/15/13)

Career Advice Focus of Most Recent “An Expert Opinion”

Dr. Steve Straus, CEO and Founder of Developmental Associates LLC, shared with us some specific qualities we need to develop to be considered strong candidates for management positions in local government, including those in budgeting and finance.

Click Here for Dr. Strauss’ Career Advice

Local Governments Significantly Impacted by latest Senate Tax Reform Plan

If you happened to receive alerts from NCLM or NCACC, or paid attention to news from Raleigh, you learned just how significant an impact the Senate’s latest tax reform proposal will have on current sources of local government revenue.

Friday’s NCLM LeagueLINC Bulletin reiterated the assessment they provided in an overview of the Senate plan on Thursday (link to by-municipality impact analysis, PDF).

Click Here for the latest bulletin from the NC Association of County Commissioners

How’s the Federal Budget Doing?

Wells Fargo updated their outlook this afternoon on how the Federal Government’s bottom line is performing:

Given the higher-than-expected revenue collections along with continued outlay reductions, we have revised our forecast for the federal budget deficit to $850 billion from $900 billion for the 2013 federal fiscal year. We have also downwardly revised our budget deficit forecast for federal fiscal year 2014 to $750 billion to reflect the higher-than-expected tax revenues from January’s tax policy changes as well as our expectation that the budget sequestration will remain in effect through the next fiscal year. The ongoing cuts to federal spending will continue to negatively affect headline GDP growth through the end of our current forecast horizon of 2014.

FY2012 NC Municipal Benchmarking Statistics Available

(From UNC School of Government) The School of Government’s Final Report on City Services for Fiscal Year 2011-2012: Performance and Cost Data presents data for fourteen North Carolina cities in the service areas of:

  • residential refuse collection
  • household recycling
  • yard waste/leaf collection
  • police services
  • emergency communications
  • asphalt maintenance and repair
  • fire services
  • building inspections
  • fleet maintenance
  • central human resources, and
  • water services.
This report is part of the ongoing North Carolina Benchmarking Project, a joint undertaking of the School of Government and the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association.
Click here for more information or to purchase a copy of the report:
Publication information:
Title: Final Report on City Services for Fiscal Year 2011-2012: Performance and Cost Data
Prepared by: Dale Roenigk
Edition: 2013
No. of pages: 375
Order number: 2013.07
Price: $35.00, plus tax and shipping
If you have questions about this title or other School of Government publications, please email or call 919. 966.4119, then press #1.

Connaughton’s Perspective on NC Economy

UNC-Charlotte Economist John Connaughton updated his economic forecast earlier this month (Click Here for PDF Slides). Here are some of his findings:

Connaughton expects the North Carolina economy to increase by an inflation-adjusted rate of 1.9 percent during 2013. The first quarter Gross State Product (GSP) is expected to increase at an annualized real rate of 1.7 percent. During the second quarter, GSP is expected to increase again, at an annualized real rate of 2.7 percent. In the third quarter, GSP is expected to pick up and record an annualized real growth rate of 2.5 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2013, GSP is expected to grow at an annualized real rate of 3.2 percent…

Connaughton predicts that 13 of North Carolina’s 15 economic sectors are forecast to experience output increases this year, with the strongest performers including

  • Business and Professional Services (+5.8%)
  • Mining (+3.2%)
  • Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (TWU) (+3.1%)
  • Education and Health Services (+2.8%)
  • Wholesale Trade (+2.4%)
  • Hospitality and Leisure Services (+2.2%)
  • Information (+2.1%)

On the jobs front, Connaughton predicts North Carolina to gain 62,500 jobs in 2012, a workforce increase of 1.5%. 12 of the state’s 14 nonagricultural sectors should see job growth, with the best prospects taking place with information, hospitality and leisure services, and business and professional services.

Connaughton also sees a stronger economy for North Carolina moving forward. While 2013 GSP growth may remain pedestrian at 1.9%, the economist sees 2014 growth outpacing the current year by 3%.

Should We Evaluate Charities by Overhead?

According to a recent initiative by the heads of the three leading charity monitoring efforts, evaluating the performance of a nonprofit primarily on the basis of their overhead costs is not a good idea.

The percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs—commonly referred to as “overhead”—is a poor measure of a charity’s performance.

We ask you to pay attention to other factors of nonprofit performance:  transparency, governance, leadership, and results.  For years, each of our organizations has been working to increase the depth and breadth of the information we provide to donors in these areas so as to provide a much fuller picture of a charity’s performance.

That is not to say that overhead has no role in ensuring charity accountability. At the extremes the overhead ratio can offer insight: it can be a valid data point for rooting out fraud and poor financial management.  In most cases, however, focusing on overhead without considering other critical dimensions of a charity’s financial and organizational performance can do more damage than good.

In fact, many charities should spend more on overhead.  Overhead costs include important investments charities make to improve their work: investments in training, planning, evaluation, and internal systems—as well as their efforts to raise money so they can operate their programs.  These expenses allow a charity to sustain itself (the way a family has to pay the electric bill) or to improve itself (the way a family might invest in college tuition).

When we focus solely or predominantly on overhead, we can create what the Stanford Social Innovation Review has called “The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle.”  We starve charities of the freedom they need to best serve the people and communities they are trying to serve.

Click Here for More on this Topic

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