March 16th Webinar focuses on Citizen Participation for Budgeting

March 16th Webinar focuses on Citizen Participation for Budgeting

The UNC School of Government will offer a new webinar, “Citizen Participation in Local Government Budgeting” on Wednesday, March 16th, from 1 to 2:30 pm.  The cost is $95 per viewing site, and attendees can register online here.

The session will feature solutions and communication methods developed by local governments in North Carolina to engage citizens in the budgeting process with respect to sharing information, encouraging feedback and building common ground.  The session will also include an overview of the use of new technologies and media, including video, to present budget information to broader citizen audiences.

Click here to register!

Below is a description of the session from the School of Government:

Webinar: Citizen Participation in Local Government Budgeting

March 16, 2011; 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

As a public leader, you have identified some tough cuts that might need to be made to your city or county budget.

  • How do you inform your citizens?
  • How do you think they will react?
  • What can you do to make this process most effective for you and your citizens?

Budget decisions in 2011 will be challenging as local governments face service cuts, increased fees, and other difficult choices. Citizen concern about the effects of increasingly tighter city and county budgets will be high. Informing citizens, listening to them, and having multiple ways to encourage informed opinions will be more important than ever.

This 90-minute webinar will help you:

  1. Inform your citizens about your proposed budget
  2. Run effective community meetings
  3. Learn more about citizen outreach and involvement

Registration: To register online, visit The registration fee is $95, whether the webinar viewed by a group or an individual.

Faculty Coordinator: John Stephens, Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government

For more information: Contact Lisa Sheffield, program manager, at 919.962.3464 or

UNC SOG Environmental Finance Center releases report on Irrigation Pricing & Policy

UNC SOG Environmental Finance Center releases report on Irrigation Pricing & Policy

Click here to access the Report Page

Excerpted from an email to the NCFinance listserv:

The Environmental Finance Center recently published results from its study Irrigation Pricing, Policies and Practices in 12 NC utilities.

Visit our web site to see find out how these utilities compare on:

  • Irrigation rates
  • System impact fees for irrigation meters
  • Backflow prevention policies
  • Irrigation practices

Municipal irrigation water demand (defined as non-agricultural irrigation demand) presents a host of challenges to water systems. The seasonal nature of this demand drives significant peaks in summertime water use. Because of these peaks, water systems must invest in costly resource and treatment capacity expansion. Moreover, irrigation demand is relatively nonexistent in the winter months and contributes very little to base-load demand and revenue.

In the summer of 2008, the North Carolina General Assembly passed S.L. 2008-143 (the 2008 Drought Bill), requiring water systems operated by local governments and large community water systems to take certain measures in order to better prepare for and manage drought conditions. One such requirement was that “Local government water systems and large community water systems shall require separate meters for new in-ground irrigation systems that are connected to their systems.” This requirement went into effect July 1, 2009. It provides water systems an opportunity to monitor and plan for municipal irrigation water use.

Although the requirement will help local governments monitor and measure irrigation water use, there are other management and financial implications of this requirement that have yet to be fully explored. Our research sought to address some of those implications by comparing the irrigation practices, policies and pricing of twelve of North Carolina’s largest utilities, those in the Urban Water Consortium who funded this study.

September 17th: Practical Analytic Techniques for Local Government (Budget Certification Course)

September 17th: Practical Analytic Techniques for Local Government (Budget Certification Course)

On September 17th, the UNC School of Government will offer the workshop, “Practical Analytic Techniques for Local Government,” presented by David Ammons and Dale Roenigk. This workshop does meet the “evaluation course requirement” for anyone pursuing the Budget & Evaluation Certification.

For more information on the course, and to register, visit the following link:

Training Available for New Online Fiscal Analysis Tool

Last week, we posted about the launch of an online local fiscal analysis tool, available at the website of the North Carolina State Treasurer. This site utilizes the financial analysis tools developed a few years ago by the UNC School of Government and is designed to help any local jurisdiction in the state analyze and compare its fiscal condition over time and with benchmarks based on other jurisdictions. The UNC School of Government has now scheduled a series of workshops for local government staff and officials to attend to learn how they can effectively use this new resource.

The workshop introduces the financial condition model being used by North Carolina local officials to analyze the fiscal strength of their organizations. Participants will learn how to interpret and communicate their data and how the model can be used to make more informed policy decisions in local government.

Workshops will last a full day and be held on the following dates and locations across North Carolina:

September 30, 2010 – Hilton Garden Inn, Kitty Hawk

October 20, 2010 – Sheraton Imperial, Research Triangle Park

October 28, 2010 – Embassy Suites, Winston-Salem

November 4, 2010 – Biltmore Doubletree, Asheville

November 18, 2010 – Embassy Suites, Concord

December 9, 2010 – Hilton Riverside, Wilmington

Registration for each workshop is $225 per person.  Registration is available online. If you have any questions, please contact Deidre Lewis, Program Manager (Click to call, or call 919-966-4171).

Berner authors new book on practical use of statistics

Please take a look at the information below about Statistics for Public Administration: Practical Uses for Better Decision Making, a new book written by UNC School of Government’s Dr. Maureen Berner.

ICMA Members can order this book for the discounted price of $39 through the ICMA Bookstore.

This book can also be ordered from the School of Government Bookstore.

From ICMA Press:

“As a public administrator, you need to be able to analyze and evaluate policies, and understand analysis and evaluations done by others. This means having a solid working knowledge of how to apply statistics to the types of data used in local government so that you make good decisions.

Statistics for Public Administration: Practical Uses for Better Decision Making, a completely updated edition of Statistics Unraveled, focuses on demonstrating how statistics can help you do your job better, rather than on a mastery of statistics. The goal of this book is to make you, as a public administrator, an educated consumer of statistical information—and an effective translator of statistical information. You get the tools you need to design an analysis, gather, analyze and interpret data, present results, and make recommendations.

“This book is a hands-on, practical, and easy-to-understand introduction to the basic concepts and methods used to analyze data in local government. Vignettes at the beginning and end of each chapter illustrate the concepts through the dialogue of fictional local government employees as they attempt to identify and solve problems. Packed with tables, charts, figures, and review questions to reinforce the concepts, the author’s conversational tone and casual style will set you at ease and make you forget any math phobia you might have!”

About the Author

Maureen Berner first joined the School of Government in 1998, teaching program evaluation, statistics, and budgeting. Between 2003 and 2005 she directed efforts to provide new outreach activities for local governments based on the UNC model at the University of Northern Iowa. In 2005 she returned to teaching and writing for MPA students and public officials at the School of Government. Berner has been active in research and teaching in both academia and in government, and her publications include a variety of books, textbooks, and journal articles. She worked for four years with the Budget Issues Group at the U.S. General Accounting Office, including a rotation to the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee while serving as a Presidential Management Intern. Berner received an MPP from Georgetown University and PhD in public policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.

UNC GrantSource offers Directory for Nonprofits

From the UNC Resource & Economic Development:

“The GrantSource Library has the mission of assisting UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, and graduate students in identifying funding for research and graduate study. Because of this, the Library does not have the information or staff resources to assist non-UNC nonprofit organizations. However, the library staff has compiled the following guide to funding information resources for community nonprofit organizations.”

Click here for this page of resources

Performance Measurement, Analytics Workshops from David Ammons & UNC School of Government

This August thru October, the UNC School of Government will be offering workshops for public administration professionals designed to help improve performance measurement and analytic presentation skills.  These workshops are developed and coordinated by Dr. David Ammons, the Albert Coates Professor of Public Administration and Government at UNC and a recognized leader in the field of local government performance measurement and benchmarking.

The following courses are available for registration online through the UNC School of Government (click on one to register):

(August 27th) Performance Measurement 101: Designing measure in local government for accountability & results ($125 per person)

(October 1st) Performance Measurement 201: Using performance data to improve local government operations ($125 per person)

(September 17th) Practical Analytic Techniques for Local Government ($125 per person)

New UNC SOG Local Finance Bulletin features FY2011 Calendar of Duties

The annual UNC School of Government publication, Finance Calendar of Duties, identifies the timeline throughout the fiscal year for the principal accounting, financial reporting, and budgeting duties of city and county officials.  Starting with the 2010-2011 version, the calendar will be published as part of the Local Finance Bulletin series.

The calendar is available free of charge on the School of Government website (click here). The School is no longer publishing the calendar in hard copy format.

UNC SOG Bookstore offering Package Discounts

The UNC School of Government Bookstore is offering a 20% discount on select bundled packages on specific topics of importance to local government between now and June 30th. Discounts are available on the following packages:

#1: Municipal Board Meetings (Regularly $94, On Sale for $75!)

Leading Your Governing Board: A Guide for Mayors and County Board Chairs, 2009 ($20)

Local Government Works Poster, 2006 ($12)

A Model Code of Ethics for North Carolina Local Elected Officials with Guidelines and Appendixes, 2010 ($30)

Open Meetings and Local Governments in North Carolina: Some Questions and Answers, Seventh Edition, 2008 ($18)

Suggested Rules of Procedure for a City Council, Third Edition, 2000 ($14)

#2: County Board Meetings (Regularly $96, On Sale for $75!)

Leading Your Governing Board: A Guide for Mayors and County Board Chairs, 2009 ($20)

Local Government Works Poster, 2006 ($12)

A Model Code of Ethics for North Carolina Local Elected Officials with Guidelines and Appendixes, 2010 ($30)

Open Meetings and Local Governments in North Carolina: Some Questions and Answers, Seventh Edition, 2008 ($18)

Suggested Rules of Procedure for the Board of County Commissioners, Third Edition, 2002 ($16)

#3: Local Government Finance (Regularly $212, On Sale for $170!)

Administrative and Financial Laws for Local Government in North Carolina, 2008-2009 Edition (hardback, $115)

Budget-Balancing Tactics in Local Government, 2010 ($25)

A Guide to Billing and Collecting Public Enterprise Utility Fees for Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste Services, 2008 ($27)

The Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act, Sixth Edition, 2006 ($13)

Local Government Property Transactions in North Carolina, Second Edition, 2000 ($32)

#4: Local Government Toolkit (Regularly $175, On Sale for $140!)

Eminent Domain and Local Government in North Carolina: Law and Procedure, 2008 ($31)

Employee Benefits Law for North Carolina Local Government Employers, 2009 ($35)

A Guide to the Listing, Assessment, and Taxation of Property in North Carolina, 2009 ($50)

Introduction to Zoning, Third Edition, 2007 ($25)

A North Carolina Guide to Animal Control Law, 2008 ($34)

Visit this special page on the UNC SOG website for more information and to purchase one of these packages.

UNC School of Govt workshop offers guidance on delivering difficult budget news to citizens, elected officials

On Thursday, May 20th, from 12 Noon to 1 p.m., the UNC School of Government will host an important webinar for local governments:


What will you say to your citizens, constituents, or the media about upcoming budget cuts or tax increases in your community?

This webinar will help elected officials and public administrators be prepared to communicate about these and other challenges currently facing local governments. Presenter Mark Weaver is a national communications advisor with two decades of communication expertise. He is president of Communications Counsel Inc. and a frequent presenter in the School of Government’s Public Executive Leadership Academy.

Topics will include:

  • Application of communication principles of primacy, inoculation, and cognitive dissonance
  • How public officials can effectively respond to public concerns
  • The role of blogs and other social media
  • Points on public disagreement
  • The changing role of traditional news media outlets

Registration for this webinar can be done online. Cost is $95 per site.

For more information, contact Susan Jensen, (919) 962-0940 or