“Prioritizing” Federal Payments?

October 16, 2013 Cash

During the depth of the recent Great Recession, senior Budget and Finance staff would gather in my office once a week to decide which vendors our county would pay that week and which would not. We knew our cash position and which checks had been printed and held. While we had some idea of expected […]

Read the full article →

More on, and a Possible Correction on IGT

June 7, 2012 Budget

Last week, we noted that the Federal government wants some of its IGT money back. I’m not, not, not going to try to explain how this program works or why and how counties put up $.50 on one day and the next day their nursing homes get back $1.00. But during the recession, counties only […]

Read the full article →

Friday Afternoon Before a Holiday

May 25, 2012 Cash

Always release bad news late Friday before a holiday weekend. Right? Just a few minutes after posting about New York counties, including Albany, needing to repay the Federal government for excess payments received for their nursing homes, Albany County finally sent an update of their cash position. First look? Not as bad as it might […]

Read the full article →

It’s Now Been Four Months Since Albany County, NY Knew (or Revealed) How Much Cash it Has

May 21, 2012 Cash

Following up on last month’s post on Albany County’s cash, we renewed our FOIL request. It’s now been four months and there’s still no response. The explanation given earlier was that the County doesn’t have the data because they’re in the midst of changing banks. I’ve tried that explanation on a number of public officials […]

Read the full article →

Happiness is a Positive Cash Flow. What’s the Cost of Ignorance?

April 23, 2012 Cash

Unhappiness is a negative cash flow. Even worse is not knowing what your cash position is. For the past year, I’ve been submitting Freedom of Information (FOIL) requests to Albany County, getting their cash position each week. I’ve been using the data to prototype some displays of public data. It’s not cash flow, but rather […]

Read the full article →

Well, it’s Not Like Local Governments are all Flush. Krugman on the Economic Effects of Municipal Retrenchment

March 5, 2012 Budget

In Today’s New York Times, Paul Krugman writes States of Depression. In discussing the sluggish economic recovery, he says: But one significant factor in our continuing economic weakness is the fact that government in America is doing exactly what both theory and history say it shouldn’t: slashing spending in the face of a depressed economy. […]

Read the full article →

Follow up on Cash Dashboard

February 23, 2012 Cash

Couple of tweaks I’ll be adding to the Cash Dashboard when I get a chance: To track and project cash from a more “organic” perspective, I’ll do a calculated field and display it excluding the borrowed cash from the Tax Anticipation Note (TAN). Though, I haven’t decided on the best means of projection, I’ll some […]

Read the full article →

Which Might be the Better Cash Dashboard?

February 23, 2012 Cash

My on-again, off-again posting is mostly the result of some prototyping and developing analytical tools and visualizations I’m doing with public data. Some are broader, more-policy focused. Others are more nitty-gritty operational. Here are two PDFs of a dashboard I’m working on for that most nitty-gritty of subjects, cash. Here’s an earlier post on its […]

Read the full article →

Dancing Along the Edge – In the Dark

February 9, 2012 Accounting

Dance too close to the edge … Well you know what happens. When things are tight is when to be most careful, but wanting to avoid public acknowledgement of trouble, some public officials get closer to the edge and then topple over. It’s even worse, when public officials avoid the bad news and operate in […]

Read the full article →

GASB Proposal to Require State & Local Governments to do Five Year Cash Flow Projections

December 19, 2011 Cash

Thanks to Lisa Henty, from the Orange County, NC Budget Office, for reminding us that the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is seeking public comment on a Preliminary Views proposing that state and local governments prepare financial projections to better present their economic conditions. From the December 6, 2011, GASB press release: The GASB is […]

Read the full article →