Cost Accounting in Local Government

Thirty Years of Impact Fee Experience

This last January 16th I watched with no small amount of pride while the Chino City Council adopted an updated set of development impact fees. It shouldn’t have been remarkable as I see such successful DIF adoptions seven or eight times a year.  What was remarkable was that the Chino City Council had done the […]

Cost Studies

The same person who is credited with inventing accounting, Luca Pacioli, an Italian mathematician from the 15th century, is also credited with inventing cost accounting. Where “regular” accounting is important for financial statements, cost accounting is essential for determining what products cost and how they should be priced. In large private sector companies, there are […]

Government as a Business

Is the idea of Government operating like a business past its time?

Allocating Administrative Functions in Other Departments

Allocating Administrative Functions in Other Departments

Mitigating the Impact of Accrued Benefit Payouts

You’re going into the fiscal year with a balanced budget and no clouds on the fiscal sky. Suddenly, in July, your police chief announces his retirement. The chief has been at the city his entire career. Beginning as a patrol officer, he rose through the ranks and is beloved by the community. You do a […]

Mandatory Approval of Accessory Dwelling Units

In July I wrote about the State Legislature requiring easier paths to increasing residential Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) construction (SB 1069).  This action is no doubt a massive intrusion into local planning and is rife with problems, but it’s too late to debate those points. Now it’s time to deal with them and try to […]

Next Steps After a Fee Update

What should a City do after completing a Fee Study and before the next Fee Study

Fee Increases in Between Cost Studies

When I first started doing Cost Studies, cities were unlikely to know the cost of their services let alone charge what the services cost. The most common approach, when fee increases were considered necessary, was to compare the city’s fees with neighboring cities, which I called the “blind leading the blind” update. Later, as cost […]

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