2020 Winter Conference Scholarship Application is Live

Good Afternoon –

I am pleased to announce that the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association (NCLGBA) is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2020 Virtual Winter Conference from December 9-11. All applications are due by 11:59PM EST on Friday, November 6, 2020. Eligible applicants should submit their application via e-mail to scholarship@nclgba.org with the subject line NCLGBA Scholarship Program. Scholarship recipient(s) will receive registration for the 2020 Virtual Winter Conference from December 9-11, 2020. In addition, NCLGBA will pay up to $250 by July 1 for any NCLGBA Board-approved professional development opportunity.

In prior years, NCLGBA has solicited scholarship applications with the intent to extend financial support for an in-person conference. Eligible recipients were first-time conference attendees which included MPA students, interns, and professionals in our field. The 2020 Virtual Winter Conference Scholarship Application is attached and available on the website by clicking here.

If you or someone you know is interested in attending the NCLGBA 2020 Virtual Winter Conference as a scholarship winner, I encourage you to apply or pass along this announcement. Please check out the NCLGBA website for information and updates about the upcoming conference. For any questions, feel free to email scholarship@nclgba.org.

Thank you,

Christopher Williams

2020-21 President, NCLGBA

Nominations Open for 2020 Vogt Award

Good Afternoon Local Government Budget Professionals:

It is my pleasure to announce and encourage nominations for the 2020 A. John “Jack” Vogt Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Advancement of Local Government Budgeting and Evaluation. This career award is the highest annual award presented by the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association (NCLGBA) to recognize individuals who have served as innovators and leaders advancing budget and/or evaluation practices in North Carolina local government during their careers.

In 2006, Dr. Jack Vogt became the first recipient of the award to honor his thirty-four year legacy as an innovator, teacher, mentor, and consummate student of local government budgeting and evaluation.

Nominees must have a minimum of ten years of local government service in North Carolina.  “Government service” is defined broadly as any profession that works in or with municipal, county, or other local government jurisdictions. Examples include budget/finance professionals, city/county managers, elected officials, academics, and local government financial consultants.

Nomination applications and a list of previous award winners can be accessed on the NCLGBA website. Completed nomination applications should be submitted via email to vogtaward@nclgba.org by 11:59pm on Friday, November 6, 2020. A committee from the NCLGBA will review the submissions and present the award at the 2020 Winter Budget Conference on Thursday, December 10th.

If you have any questions about the nomination form or process, please email vogtaward@nclgba.org.

North Carolina has a strong, national reputation as a leader in local government budgeting and evaluation. I hope you will take this opportunity to recognize those who have helped us earn this reputation and charted new paths for all of us to participate, learn from and benefit.

Thank You,

Christopher Williams
2020-2021 President, NCLGBA

NCLGBA Members Visit UNC-Charlotte MPA Program

This past week, three NCLGBA members hosted a “Budget 101” Zoom session for the Master of Public Administration program at UNC-Charlotte. Janet Schafer, Gaston County Budget Manager and NCLGBA Board Secretary, hosted this presentation and provides a recap.

A “Budget 101” presentation was given to the students of the Fall 2020 Public Budgeting and Finance course instructed by Matt Rhoten, Gaston County Assistant Manager. Matt is also a current NCLGBA member and 2015 UNC-Charlotte MPA graduate. As a former Budget Director, Matt focuses on real-life applications in his curriculum and incorporates guest sessions from current practitioners in the field.

Taylor Drury, current NCLGBA member and Assistant Budget Manager for Gaston County, co-hosted the session. A 2018 UNC-Charlotte MPA graduate, Taylor was excited for this opportunity to speak with current students about pursuing potential careers in local government budgeting.

Janet Schafer, Matt Rhoten, and Taylor Drury

The presentation had three primary goals: to provide a brief overview of the roles of budget offices and budget analysts in North Carolina; to provide an example of the type of analysis frequently performed in budget offices; and to inform students of the NCLGBA and the benefits of becoming a member.  The students briefly introduced themselves and spoke to their decisions to pursue an MPA. Several of the students expressed an interest in non-profit management, and a few of the students were already working in local government.

Presenters outlined the importance of budget offices and professionals in North Carolina government. The presentation emphasized the high level of government knowledge that budget professionals develop on the job, making them a valuable resource to their agency. Likewise, the presentation also highlighted the array of on-the-job skills developed in the budget profession. From presentations and public speaking to data analysis and visualization, students were given a glimpse into the daily duties of local government budget professionals.

The NCLGBA portion of this presentation focused on the many benefits of becoming an NCLGBA member. Presenters highlighted the goals of the NCLGBA by giving examples of how these goals have helped develop the budgeting profession in Gaston County and throughout North Carolina. During this section, students were provided with links to the NCLGBA website and listserv and encouraged to access NCLGBA as a resource for information, job postings, networking, and professional development. Multiple students expressed interest in the scholarship opportunity for the 2020 Winter Conference.

Overall, the students present at the UNC-Charlotte MPA Public Budgeting and Finance class were very engaged, and several expressed interest in a possible career in local government budgeting. Throughout this presentation, one thing was certain: the instructor, the presenters, and the students all share a passion for public service!

NCLGBA campus visits support our Strategic Plan goal to “increase student interest and participation within NCLGBA in order to advocate for the budgeting profession and to help create and foster the next generation of local government leaders.” If you would like us to visit your program, class, or student group, please email us at admin@nclgba.org.

2020 Virtual Winter Conference – Registration/Membership Open!

Registration for the 2020 Virtual Winter Conference, to be held December 9-11, 2020, is now open!

Key word, it is virtual.  We received great survey feedback from the last conference on capacity for in-person. The conference will include content over three days, two half-days and one longer day.

Head over to the Conferences page for all the details.

If you have any questions, please direct them to conference@nclgba.org.

 

Membership for FY21 is Open

Check out the Membership page for details on joining or renewing your membership with NCLGBA.

#NCLGBA20 Recap Series: Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

For the past few weeks, we have been featuring reflections on the 2020 Virtual Summer Conference. Our final #NCLGBA20 Conference Recap comes from Janet Schafer, Budget Manager, Gaston County.

As I listened to Vice President Brian Pahle kick off the 2020 Summer Virtual Conference with a reminder to step out of our comfort zones, I began to reflect on the ways local government budget professionals have been forced out of our comfort zones since the last conference.

Michael Walden started the Economic Update with a discussion on the uncharted territories of this “mandated recession” with a potential recovery occurring in 2023. This session brought back memories from just a few months prior when budget departments across the state began updating revenue projections without recent or historic data for guidance. Instead, we looked to our peers for guidance, many of whom we have built connections with at these conferences.

Next, I attended Norma Houston’s Purchasing with COVID-19 Funds session. This session helped me obtain a better grasp on how my own agency can grapple with the friction caused by varying levels of government fiscal policy in combination with the urgency of trying to protect a community during a global pandemic.

The Questica session reiterated the importance of high-performing technology and software at a time when offices and in-person meetings are dangerous, and teleworking is the new normal. Our standard budget procedures were completely disrupted at the most critical point in the budget process. I am still unsure how we all survived this disruption but Questica was able to turn “surviving” into “thriving” for several of our local government budgeting peers.

Lastly, the NCLM’s Legislative Update reminded us all just how unfortunate the timing of this global pandemic was for budget professionals. The NCLM was, and continues to be, an important source of guidance for North Carolina government agencies at all levels. At a time when public health and the economy are at odds, the NCLM keeps us up-to-date on legislation and policy surrounding both of these topics in an ever-changing environment.

My takeaway from this virtual conference is that we, as local government budget professionals, are extremely fortunate to have an extensive list of resources to guide us (or commiserate with us) during a time of discomfort. Our universities and their experts, our partnering agencies, and our peers provide us with a solid foundation that allowed us to navigate these discomforts a bit more comfortably.  So whether it’s a mandated recession, ever-changing fiscal policy, a disrupted budget process, or even the “Pahlenator” hashtag, we can handle any scary thing that comes our way!

RSVP to the Winter 2020 Conference Planning Meeting

On behalf of the NCLGBA Board, we invite you to the NCLGBA 2020 Winter Conference – Virtual Planning Meeting on Friday, September 11th, 2020!

The objectives are to:

  1. brainstorm conference session topics that are exciting and relevant to our members,
  2. secure volunteer commitments including moderators and registration help, and
  3. networking with state-wide colleagues!

Click here to RSVP (yes or no) by Friday, August 28th, 2020. All local government budget professionals are welcome to attend! Even if you can’t attend, please follow the link to share ideas for session topics, speakers, and/or volunteer to be a moderator or help with other conference opportunities.

Join us via Zoom, meeting invitation to be sent at a later date.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When and where is the 2020 Winter Conference?

The 2020 Winter Conference will be held December 9th – 11th and will be a virtual event.

Will CBEO exams be offered at the planning meeting?

No.  Due to the meeting being virtual we are hoping to schedule exams for a different date.  Please keep an eye to the listserv for further updates on CBEO exam opportunities.  We are working to lock in a testing date and location for October.

Is the Planning Meeting only meant for Board Members?

No, all local government budget professionals are welcome! Even if you do finance, strategic planning, or data analytics you are welcome!

If you can’t make it, the best way to share with us your ideas is through the RSVP link and then Heather can follow up accordingly. She will be sure to include it as part of our presentation, so if someone wants to moderate such a session then she’d connect both of you.

As always, thank you all for coming together to create great experiences and professional development opportunities for our colleagues across the State.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Heather Curry or Brian Pahle.

#NCLGBA20 Recap Series: Engaging and Learning Through “Tele-everything”

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2020 Virtual Summer Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our second #NCLGBA20 Conference Recap comes from Heather Curry, Budget and Evaluation Analyst, City of Winston-Salem.

Despite looking very different this year, the morning of the NCLGBA conference still held that same electric energy and excitement that I have come to associate with these events. While only one day and held entirely online, I knew I was still in for a day of learning and I was excited to see colleagues from around the state on the computer screen and Twitter timeline.

The day started with the Economic Update, presented by Dr. Michael Walden from NC State. He described the current recession as a “mandated recession,” meaning that it was caused by our need to distance due the pandemic, and not by an excess and subsequent correction in some area of the economy. Theoretically, this should make recovery easier – just undo the mandate and things will rebound – however, the unknowns of the virus (how exactly does it spread, what activities are safest, when will a vaccine be available, will it be effective, etc.) complicate the recovery. The projections he shared showed it taking until 2023 for North Carolina’s GDP to reach pre-COVID levels. In the meantime, our economy is likely to undergo a shift to “tele-everything” – telemedicine, telework, teleschooling – which could result in people reexamining choices about where to live – if you’re engaged in tele-everything, do you need to live in the big city, or can you still access those resources while living in a rural area?

Next up were the concurrent sessions. I attended Dr. Kara Millonzi’s session on budget ordinances. Having attended Dr. Millonzi’s Introduction to Local Government Finance course at the School of Government, I was expecting a nice refresher, but not necessarily any specific new knowledge from this session. However, my expectations were exceeded when we got into the final section on interim budgets. Essentially, if a local government cannot pass a full budget and tax levy by the July 1 deadline, the Fiscal Control Act does allow for limited interim budgets. The tax rate still needs to be set by August 1, however, so no ongoing continuing resolutions for this level of government! For local governments facing extreme uncertainty in their budgets that could prevent them from having a complete budget for a longer period of time, Dr. Millonzi suggested using a hybrid interim/full budget model, described in the image below.

After concurrent sessions and lunch, the conference picked up with the business meeting. Along with the usual items – celebrating new CBEOs and promotions, thanking outgoing board members, and welcoming new faces – our VPs also shared a statement from the Board expressing the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and highlighting past and ongoing efforts in these areas. The full statement is in the image below.

The afternoon rounded out with two more general sessions. First, The Quest for a Balanced Budget highlighted the ways budget development – especially in a pandemic – is supported by technology. As the panel cities worked to adjust to developing their budgets remotely, ever-changing revenue projections, and other pandemic challenges, they relied on technology to engage residents, run scenarios, and validate data. Even with all our technology however, most offices are still building budget documents essentially by hand. Additionally, documents remain a moment-in-time snapshot, rather than living documents. These areas could be the next great innovations in budgeting.

 

Like many discussions recently, the final session – Legislative Updates – had a somewhat different tone than prior conferences as much of the update focused on revenue changes and resulting COVID relief legislation and ongoing advocacy. Other legislative highlights from the short session include updates for NC DOT funding, support for struggling water and wastewater systems, regulations for robotic package delivery, and funding for workforce housing.

While the conference format may have changed, it was still a time to learn, engage the brightest minds in budget, and – in this moment of tele-everything – as close as we can get to seeing our colleagues from across the state. And that makes the first-ever virtual NCLGBA conference a success in my book.

#NCLGBA20 Recap Series: Adapting to the New Normal

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2020 Virtual Summer Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our first #NCLGBA20 Conference Recap comes from Janice Hillanbrand, Budget and Management Analyst, Forsyth County.

Going into the 2020 Summer Conference, while I was hopeful and optimistic, I truly did not know what to expect from the organization’s first virtual conference. I had many questions – will the sessions be as impactful and instructional on a virtual platform? How will the Q&A sessions work on a virtual platform with so many people tuning in? Will the sessions be held on Zoom calls with all of the attendees awkwardly staring at each other on the screen?

The Summer 2020 Conference exceeded all of my expectations. I was deeply impressed with the virtual platform that was created for the conference, as well as the format of the general and concurrent sessions. I know planning a virtual conference in the short time that was available was no easy feat and I have endless respect for Paarth, Brian, and the rest of the NCLGBA Board for being able to do so seamlessly.

As to be expected, the underlying topic in each session was COVID-19 and the various responses we all took. During our legislative update, Chris Nida made a poignant statement when he said that the COVID-19 crisis kicked off at the worst possible time for all of us: in March when most Budget Offices are in the thick of Budget preparation. It left very little time for Budget Offices to get accurate projections of sales tax impacts- a vital revenue source for all local governments in the state. The uncertainty still continues, as Michael Walden pointed out in our first session: Economic Update. There will be continued effects of teleworking and prolonged closure that we are yet to see.

The session that left the most impact on me was the ‘What’s Your New Normal?’ concurrent session. All of the presenters talked about the importance of having adaptable, effective and compassionate leadership during times of crisis. All of the presenters spoke about the importance of listening to and being responsive of different voices, being compassionate towards those in your organization and your community, and trusting those around you to do their job and do it well. The message of this session (and the fantastic speakers) left me motivated and encouraged, despite the continued uncertainty that we all continue to face.

The overall theme of this year’s conference has proven to be the importance of being adaptable and responsive as budget offices and professionals. We work in a profession of the unknown and uncertain, and this year has clearly reminded us of just that. Despite this, it is important to keep effective leadership and work practices and to do them with compassion for the communities you serve. It will be interesting to see how this pandemic continues to effect the state as we continue through this fiscal year, as well as how it will play into planning for the Winter Conference. The NCLGBA leadership team and moderators did a spectacular job planning such a moving conference. I already cannot wait to see what is in store for this year’s upcoming Winter Conference!

Virtual Conference Materials Now Available Online

Presentations from the Summer 2020 Virtual Conference are now available online. Find them here, or in the Resource Archive.

A final thank you to our sponsors, conference planning committee, and moderators who helped make the Summer 2020 Virtual Conference a success! If you have suggestions for future conference topics or are interested in helping with a future conference, please reach out to us by emailing conference@nclgba.org.

Sponsor Spotlight: Summer 2020 Virtual Conference Sponsors

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCLGBA recently held our first ever virtual conference. The virtual event provided an exciting opportunity to still bring high-quality content to our members, even though we couldn’t gather in the same place. One of the factors that made the virtual conference a success was the generosity of our sponsors. Check them out below. Thank you again for your support of NCLGBA!

Summer 2020 Virtual Conference Sponsor Information

Presenting/Title Sponsors

Questica (Handouts) (Video)

Debt Book (Flyer) (Video)

Governor’s Commission

Oracle (Handouts) (Video)

Legislative Committee

ADW Architects (Flyer) (Video)

Mark III Employee Benefits (Video)

LGFCU (Handouts)

In-Kind

Public Input

ELGL