Sessions

2020 Legislative Update

  • Date: 9/22/2020
  • Track: Legislative Update

What were the big issues in the 2020 session, and what may be coming in 2021? This session will provide an overviewof the latest legislative action and a preview of 2021.

Taxes and User Fees Survey: Using data to inform during your municipal budget process.

  • Date: 9/22/2020
  • Track: Legislative Update

AWC's Tax and User Fee Survey is a voluntary survey conducted every two years. Survey results are provided as a service for our members (Washington's cities and towns) and associate members to provide a tool in developing and setting tax rates, fees and charges. This session will cover key findings and trends identified by the survey, including property tax data, expanded use of sales and use tax authority, and comparisons of other municipal taxes and fees.

Purchasing and Service Contract

  • Date: 9/22/2020
  • Track: Cash Basis Entities

This class will cover some of the requirements in public purchasing and service contracting.  Included topics are bid thresholds, bidding exceptions, policy recommendations and piggybacking. 

Public Records Updates

  • Date: 9/22/2020
  • Track: Legislative Update

During this informative session, attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from the Attorney General’s Office about new and developing issues in the world of public records. Mr. Damerow will provide attendees with updates on recent legislation and impacts on local governments. Additionally, he will address lawsuits and other legal actions that may shape the public records landscape into the future.

Economist Panel

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: General Session

The panel will discuss the macroeconomic backdrop facing markets and the outlook for US interest rates. This will include views on fiscal and monetary policy, and how these might evolve in the future. The panelists will outline their baseline forecasts for duration, curve, spreads and TIPS breakevens, as well as risks to their outlook.

OST Portfolios Management & Strategy

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Investments

Come learn about how OST Investments staff manage the state’s operating funds and local government investments.  The discussion will include allocation to liquidity and core portfolios, positioning and duration, allowable investments, corporate credit analysis and active management strategies.  As well, we will provide an update on the LGIP and the newly separately managed accounts for local governments.

Basic Budgeting Steps and Procedures 2020

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Budgeting

This session starts with the basics on budgeting for local governments in Washington State including state laws, funds, budget requirements and some practical advice.  Those new to the profession or new to Washington will find this session helpful to get you started on a successful path to support your entity in developing their budgets and providing meaningful information to your organization, policymakers and the community.

Utility Revenue Requirement and Capital Funding Strategies

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Utility Management

Part 1 – Utility Rate Study Step 1: The Revenue Requirement. Part 1 of this 2-part session will focus on the concepts, principles, and best practices of utility rate making with a focus on what is commonly referred to as the revenue requirement (financial plan); the first analytical step of three which make up a comprehensive rate study. The presentation will focus on key study components that aide in the calculation of the complete system operations and capital investment strategy. Additionally, prudent financial metrics will provide the foundation for how the revenue requirement is developed. The presentation will also highlight industry best practices in the development of an independent revenue calculation, adequately funding capital needs, and projecting O&M costs, etc. This presentation establishes the foundation for the progression of sessions in the full utility track.

Part 2 - Capital Funding Analysis and Funding Strategies. A key component of the revenue requirement is capital funding. Capital funding has significant implications on a given utility’s fiscal and physical health. Part 2 of this presentation will discuss important aspects of capital funding. Specific discussions will focus on funding sources, funding strategies and how to manage the volatile nature of capital needs. The standard funding sources for utilities are bond issue, CDBG, and PWTF. However, there are a number of other funding options available to the utility when the standard funding is not available.

GASB Update - 2020

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Accounting, Auditing & Budgeting

GASB is back to provide an update on projects, current and upcoming standards. There are several projects on the GASB’s current technical agenda that potentially have far reaching ramifications for Washington entities.  This session will give an overview of the GASB pronouncements that become effective in the upcoming fiscal years.  The session also will explain some of the projects on GASB’s current technical agenda and research agenda.

Lean Basics Plus

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Management/Leadership

For those who consider themselves a newbie even though they may have heard about lean or attended presentations in the past, this session will provide a short introduction to lean basics but will go a step further by offering a glimpse of what is possible.  A panel of local government Lean Practitioners will share their favorite lean projects and real-world applications of lean tools.  Hear about what they were able to do and ask question to learn what is possible for you! 

 

Virtual Tools: Roll Call and Availability to Work

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Risk Management

When an unexpected emergency happens, how do you account for all your employees and make sure everyone is safe?  After that, how do you find out who’s available to report to work?  Pierce County Planning and Public Works will explain how they leveraged existing county software to create a text-message alert and notification system for employees.

How to Analyze a Fixed Income Portfolio Using Excel

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Investments

Microsoft Excel is a tool often utilized in the investment world to analyze information.  By employing simple modeling techniques and using certain Excel functionality, we can transform raw portfolio data into a visually appealing format that allows us to review the various concentration risks of our portfolio.

Effective Budget Presentation

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Budgeting

Based on GFOA Best Practices, this session will provide current examples of outstanding presentation of budget related materials.  Many local governments participate in the GFOA's Distinguished Budget Presentation Program and follow the development of best practices that provide recommendations to enhance this work.  This session will be geared to those who are current, or potential future, program particiants (or those who just want to have their financial information be better understood by their policymakers and community!)

Utility Cost of Service and Achieving Equity

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Utility Management

A cost-of-service analysis (COSA) is key component of a comprehensive utility rate study. The objective of a COSA is to quantify the cost of providing utility service for the individual classes of customers served by a utility. It is also an important variable in establishing defensible rates, empowering a utility to avoid unintentional rate subsidies, and to understand the underlying cost-drivers behind their utility rates. This presentation will share information on the overall methodology used to conduct a COSA, as well as discuss the key information a utility needs to compile and prepare in order to produce effective and informative results. The session will trace the industry-standard methodology for conducting a COSA as promoted by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Water Environment Foundation (WEF).

Keeping Fraud in Focus

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Fraud

Learn how to keep fraud in constant focus, as the Office of the Washington State Auditor discusses fraud from all angles. You’ll hear about current trends in government fraud and what to watch out for in the pandemic; about the human side of fraud and why otherwise good people make surprising choices; and about the importance of a skeptical mind for each and every government employee. You’ll also hear about SAO’s investigation of a $7 million misappropriation, and practical lessons-learned that all governments can apply.

Ready or Not - Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Risk Management

What happens when you prepare for one kind of emergency but get something different?  Pierce County Planning and Public Works shares lessons learned from their COVID-19 pandemic response, and how it helped prepare them for future disasters, whatever they are.

Performance, Value, and Practical Strategies for Public Fund Investors

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Investments

Guessing if rates will rise, fall, or stay unchanged and investing accordingly is a poor investment strategy; especially for Public Fund investors.  The best strategy for your portfolio is defined by characteristics specific to your situation.  While there are similarities among Public Fund investors, no two are exactly alike.  This session will begin with a brief economic update, followed by a review of historical and projected performance of investments permissible to Public Fund Investors in Washington State.  The session will conclude with a review and comparison of practical strategies that can be tailored to your specific needs.

Budgeting for Payroll and Benefits

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Budgeting

This course will provide a solid primer on the fundamental aspects of personnel budgeting and focus on ancillary areas that impact government's bottom line.  Several tools and approaches to personel budgeting will be discussed and debated across course participants.

Rate Design and the Financial Impact of Coronavirus on Utilities

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Utility Management

The coronavirus outbreak last Spring has had a worldwide economic effect, as the whole economy was abruptly slowed in response to a public health crisis. This session is to review steps that local utilities—water, sewer, stormwater, solid waste—have taken in response to a surge of economic needs in their communities, and the potential impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the financial condition of the utilities themselves. We will review utility billing and collection procedures and describe the revenue impact when collection procedures are suspended. We will also describe the impact on commercial billings during the time when a stay-at-home order is in effect. Some jurisdictions have chosen to implement a rate holiday for all customers; we will discuss that choice and its consequences. We will describe how costs might have been affected by the pandemic and the utility’s response to it. Finally, we will address the impact of these conditions on utility reserves, including when to use reserves and how to replenish them after a drawdown.

Continuity of Operations

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Risk Management

Every day, individuals, organizations, and government institutions provide critical services and conduct essential functions upon which our neighbors and communities depend.  These interdependencies are integral to the survival and support our way of life.  Continuity ensures that the whole community has planned for ways to provide essential services and conduct these functions when normal operations are disrupted.  Presidential Policy Directive 21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, defines resilience as “the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and recover rapidly from operational disruptions.” 

Managing Portfolio Duration

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Investments

Duration is typically the primary contributor to portfolio returns.  In this session, we will focus on how to utilize duration to manage risk and return in the portfolio.  This session will cover common measurements of duration and convexity, along with techniques for active management.  We will analyze various market scenarios and how duration decisions can affect performance outcomes.

Merchant Services and Purchasing Cards - So similar but so different

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Banking

This will be a joint presentation with Key Bank covering merchant services and US Bank covering purchase card.

Merchant Services - Key Bank

How easy is it for me to get paid? What is my online strategy? How can I greatly reduce or eliminate the cost of accepting card payments? If you have found yourself asking similar questions, you won’t want to miss this conversation. Most everyone has had their status quo disrupted and may be looking to find a new path forward. Solutions that were once identified as “nice to have” are becoming essential to accommodate the business demand in the new normal. Speakers will address each question in detail and provide actionable steps to evaluate your current environment.

Purchase Card - US Bank

We will share overall purchasing card best practices, how to reduce the risk of fraud and how to best maximize the rebate of your card program.

Overview of GFOA's Best Budgeting Practices

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Budgeting

Over the last couple decades, the GFOA has developed more than 35 best practices related to budgeting that cover: 1) fiscal policy, 2) linking the budget to organizational goals and performance, 3) the budet process and budgetary techniques, and 4) specific elements of the operating budget document.  This interactive session focuses on the practical implementation of these best practices.

11 Ways Smart People Deal with Uncertainty

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • Track: Management/Leadership

Our brains are hardwired to make much of modern life difficult. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with uncertainty. This can be a challenge because we are wired to react to uncertainly with fear. The less information we have to go on the more erratic and irrational our decisions can be. In the uncertainty our brains shift to the limbic system where emotions like anxiety and fear are generated.  Often time that uncertainty comes when we are experiencing stress in making the “right decision” and there is a great deal riding on it. It is most challenging when the situation is a surprise and people are waiting for your decision. You will learn 11 proven strategies to improve the quality of your decisions when your emotions are clouding your judgement. These strategies will be explored, and you will select the ones that are the best for you to start with. They will become “ go to” practices which are easily retrieved.

Facing the new faces of fraud: Tackling today's biggest security threats

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Banking

The fraud landscape is constantly evolving and fraud schemes have become more sophisticated.  Technological shifts - such as the proliferation of smartphones and the emergence of extremely tech savvy criminals - ensure attacks will occur within your organizations and that they can come from anywhere. In this session, you will hear about various fraud threats that pose a risk to your organizations like Business Email Compromise (BEC), which continues to be the cyber payment fraud scheme of choice, and Online Account Takeover (ATO). 

With corporate assets, information and reputations at significant risk, real-world solutions and partnerships are required to protect against fraud.  We will share best practices to identify fraud and protect your organization.  You will hear a first-hand account from a corporate treasury professional who experienced a fraud attack.  They will share their experience and the changes they have made in order to combat future cyber payment fraud attempts.

Top Compliance Issues

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: DRS

The Employer Compliance team at the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems is responsible to conduct reviews of participating employers to ensure compliance in eligibility, retirees returning to work, and reporting. Learn about the top compliance issues we find during our reviews and what to expect during a compliance review.

2020 Single Audit Update

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Accounting, Auditing & Budgeting

This course will highlight information related to the application of the Uniform Guidance by local government entities when spending federal funds and its use in audits by the Office of the Washington State Auditor.

Taxable Meals & Lodging

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: IRS

This session discusses when meals and lodging provided by the employer are taxable to employees, when they are not taxable, and the steps that should be taken to ensure accountable plan rules are followed. 

Bonds 101: Debt Issuance for Washington Local Governments

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Debt Management

Social Security for Public Employers

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: DRS

This presentation will: cover the 85 year history of Social Security (and Medicare) as it pertains to public employees in the State of Washington; help you understand which of your employees are covered for Social Security and Medicare - and why; help you determine if your agency has employees that are exempt from Social Security and/or Medicare and what to do if an error has been made; provide information on obtaining voluntary Social Security coverage for a group of employees who don't have voluntary Social Security or Medicare coverage in place.

Developing an Indirect Cost Allocation Plan

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Cash Basis Entities

This class will cover reasons to consider implementing a cost allocation plan, which costs to include, how to allocate them and how to incorporate the plan into the budget process. 

Business Use of Vehicles

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: IRS

This session will discuss taxability of vehicles used in the employer’s business, including the considerations that should be made for employee vehicles versus the employer-provided vehicles.

Bond Math Basics

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Debt Management

Do you want to know: How the amount of principal and interest your entity will pay for the next 10-30 years is calculated? How the coupon, yield, and price are related in your bond issue? Why can you save money in a refinancing when the interest rate on your old debt is lower or the same as your new debt? What “discount and “premium” means when it comes to bonds?

Come to this session for a high-level discussion on the basics of how bonds are sized, how your finance team can avoid surprises with voted authorization compliance limitations, and how current market conditions are affecting bond pricing. You’ll also get resources for how to figure out what’s happening on the day your bonds are sold and have a chance to ask experts questions about your bond issuance.

How Governments Can Use Data to Enhance Constituent Experiences

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Banking

With changing payment habits, changing demographics, and a move towards convenience, constituents are looking to interact with government agencies easily and quickly. Data is power, and organizations can leverage their data to enhance the constituent experience for stronger outcomes and processes, whether it’s for individuals looking for painless solutions or businesses looking to manage their licenses and filings through a single portal. Government agencies can learn how to better support the agility required by constituencies.

Schedule 06 - Summary of Bank Reconciliations

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Accounting, Auditing & Budgeting

You just got contacted by your auditor and they want to audit your entity. You feel confident but nervous. How do you explain the Schedule 06 confidently?

Come learn about the changes to the Schedule 06. We will be going over the new requirements for cash basis cities/counties and introducing new resources that will help you perform monthly bank reconciliations with ease. While the Schedule 06 is required for cities/counties, the additional resources apply to anyone who performs bank reconciliations.

Overview of Taxable Fringe Benefits

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: IRS

This session will cover what constitutes a fringe benefit and when they are taxable.

Good, Bad & Ugly of Change Management

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Management/Leadership

This session will be geared towards the intermediate level lean practitioner who seeks to learn from failures and lead with “if at first you don’t first succeed, don’t give up, try again!”  This will also touch on the scalability of lean; demonstrating that anyone can apply the tools, whether they are managing big projects across an organization or small changes at their own desk.   

The Feedback Fallacy

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Management/Leadership

For years managers have been encouraged to praise and constructively criticize everything their employees do. But there are better ways to help employees thrive and excel. The challenge is that giving feedback constantly, directly and critically and telling people what we think of their performance and how they can do better is not the best way to help them excel and, in fact, can hinder development. Research shows that, first we aren’t the reliable raters of other’s performance that we think we are: second criticism inhibits the brain’s ability to learn and third, excellence is idiosyncratic, can’t be defined in advance and isn’t the opposite of failure.  Leaders can’t correct a person’s way to excellence. Leaders need to help their team members see what’s working, stopping them with a “YES! Do That” and sharing their experience of what they did well. Join us and learn more about how to correct the feedback fallacy.

Introduction to Cash Flow Forecasting

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Investments

Understanding your cash flow is an essential part of the public funds management.  Amanda Huston of the Washington State Treasurer’s Office will discuss elements of a cash flow forecast, steps in forecasting and making adjustments to your forecast, and ways to use cash flow knowledge to improve your cash management and investment strategy.

2020 BARS Update

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Accounting, Auditing & Budgeting

During this session we will cover updates to the BARS manuals, including important accounting and reporting updates that effect both CASH and GAAP governments, annual report filing changes, opportunities for small group discussions, and more.

Determining Worker's Classification

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: IRS

This session looks at the 20 common law factors that the courts use to measure worker classification.  The lesson also addresses the 3 categories of controls that the IRS considers when determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.

Inspiration, Instigation, and Integration: Keeping Lean Alive and Kicking

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Management/Leadership

Generating enthusiasm for Lean isn’t always an easy task, and neither is sustaining the initiative as time goes by.  What are the clues that you might need a little extra infusion of inspiration, instigation, or integration for Lean to thrive in your organization? Come learn how we have used Liberating Structures to build a Lean community of practice both within an organization and among local government workers from multiple agencies. This workshop will show you steps and tools to include in your Lean journey that will keep you moving forward.

State Programs for Financing Local Infrastructure

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Debt Management

The State of Washington offers many grant and loan programs to assist local governments in financing infrastructure. Matt Schoenfeld of the Office of the State Treasurer will discuss the LOCAL Program, and David Dunn of the Department of Ecology will discuss Public Works Trust Fund and other State programs.

Centering in a World of Chaos

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Management/Leadership

The pace of life is getting faster every day, and there's no sign of a slowdown. How do you maintain your sense of balance amidst the chaos? How do you avoid overwhelm, depletion and burnout? What can you do to feel centered and calm?  Chaos shows up in many forms, including the chatter of social media, the ongoing negative news, and the stream of information overload that’s now a daily part of keeping up with life. Signs and symptoms of being “off center” include irritability, overwhelm, disorganization; racing or looping thoughts; feeling worried, anxious, or fearful; restless or disrupted sleep; a chronic sense of being hurried; feeling victimized or powerless; feeling dull, apathetic, or emotionless; a sense having to push or force; and constantly second guessing your decisions. Learn how to reliably center yourself increases resilience in the face of stress. You can experience vast improvements in your health, relationships, and performance as a result. We will learn mindfulness basics and experience and few practice activities to get you started to find a centering practice for you.

Property Tax Issues in a (Post?) “COVID-19” Reality

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Cash Basis Entities

This session will cover some property tax basics and address a range of issues relating to property taxes in light of the pressures created by COVID-19, increased emergency response costs, tax collection delays and delinquencies, and other recession-related issues.

Information Return Reporting Requirements

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: IRS

This session will cover Form 1099 reporting requirements, when backup withholding is applicable, and recent tax law updates.

Credit Ratings: Updates and Lessons Learned in the COVID 19 Environment

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Debt Management

Join us for an update on credit ratings in the post COVID-19 environment. We will examine the factors influencing changes to credit ratings, both across the country and in Washington State. You will hear from a rating analyst at Moody's Investors Service, as well as other public finance professionals.