5 Takeaway Points From the 2016 GFOAT Fall Conference

 

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by Ashley Garcia and Eric Wilson

#1: Capital asset management, particularly pertaining to infrastructure, is becoming a wide-spread concern.

Aging infrastructure assets are presenting challenges to many public entities throughout the United States. Although property developers are setting up initial infrastructure, public entities are finding it difficult to meet the maintenance demands as these infrastructures age. For this reason, many public entities are finding success in-filling within already developed areas. In doing so, they are able to utilize already existing infrastructure and strengthen their property tax basis.

#2: Property taxes will be the number one items on the State of Texas Legislative Agenda for 2017 session.

Property tax reform is the number one item on the State of Texas Legislative Agenda for the 2017 session. Proposed legislation will make changes to the current revenue cap. Municipalities are the primary target for this upcoming reform. The reform continues to be a hot topic for the GFOAT as the legislative session approaches.

#3:  In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, changes in banking regulations are causing public entities to become less desirable to banking institutions.

Due to high service demands, collateral requirements, and constantly fluctuating balances, public entities are more costly to banks. As a result, public entities are yielding less return on excess liquidity. Therefore, maintaining operational accounts and exploring alternative depository options will be critical.

#4: Financial Policies are central to a strategic, long-term approach to financial management.

As a best practice, public entities should use policies as a means to establish and maintain internal controls and guide operations. When developing new or revisiting existing policies, make sure the end product is in a form, design, and format that is both understandable and accessible.

#5: Do not be afraid to wear your Houston Texans Gear to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium!

Just don’t let Jerry Jones see you.

 

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Eric Wilson is an audit supervisor at McConnell & Jones LLP, where he primarily works on government/non-profit audits. He also attended the GFOAT conference earlier this year. Ashley Garcia is a senior auditor at McConnell & Jones LLP, where she also primarily works in the government/ non-profit sector. The 2016 fall conference was her first GFOAT event.