Sessions

Public Fund Investing - Simplified and Establishing a Public Fund "Best Practice" Investment Program

  • Date: 9/22/2020
  • Track: Pre-Conference

This four hour session will be broken down into two parts.

Part One: Public Funds Investing - Simplified

Public Funds Investing is simple.  Let us take the mystery out of it...

In the first 30 minutes of this class, we will provide a thorough review of current legal investments in the State of Washington. We will distribute as our "textbook", the "Guide to Public Funds Investing for Local Governments" as provided by the Office of the Washington State Treasurer.  As we review this booklet with attendees, we will cover such topics as:

  • The difference between money market funds (illegal) and PDPA protected bank accounts (legal).
  • The most typical bonds for public funds investing in Washington.
  • The rating and allocation percentages required by the State for investment in corporate bonds.

Next, we will diagram the cash flows of a typical bond, clarifying the differences between a discount and premium bond. Callable bonds are popular.  We will dig into the factors that determine whether or not a callable bond will be called.

We will address the age-old question: should the investor build a portfolio using an advisor or brokers? This will be accomplished by an actual debate between an advisor and a broker!

In the last section, we will "bring it all together".  We will review a sample portfolio using actual bond reporting which we will walk through with the attendees.  The class will learn the concept of weighted average yield to maturity and “to worst”, as well as how many basis points rates would need to change to “trigger” the call.

This class is provided by the same folks that brought you "Public Funds Investing Made Easy".  You can expect us to teach at a pace that allows everyone (even beginners!) to follow along. 

If you are looking for answers to your public fund's investment questions without a lot of jargon, this class is for you!

 

Part Two: Establishing a Public Fund "Best Practice" Investment Program

Many Washington jurisdictions invest public funds outside of the state's Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP).

This session will focus on key aspects of investing beyond the LGIP.  Our speakers will focus on developing investment policies compliant with state law, and, in particular, authoirzed investments and minimum credit ratings; cash flow planning and proven investment strategies; and tips for navigating in today's current low interest rate environment.

2020 GFOA CPFO Certification Review Course: Treasury Management

  • Date: 9/22/2020
  • Track: Pre-Conference

This one day course will cover the materials included on the exam specifications for the GFOA Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) Exam on Treasury and Investment Management. The class will be conducted in lecture-style and led by Ann Shawver, CPA, CPFO. All aspects of the exam specifications will be covered as well as test-taking and preparation guidance. Following the class, Ann will also continue to be available to participants for any follow up questions, clarity regarding subject matter and final review prior to sitting for the CPFO exam as helpful.

Portfolio Strategies for Managing Risk and Return

  • Date: 9/22/2020
  • Track: Pre-Conference

Depending upon your investment objectives, risk tolerance, and resources, there are a number of potential approaches to managing a portfolio. The focus on this session will be on active management strategies to mitigate risk and enhance total return.  This session will cover some of the key levers and techniques utilitzed to structure and manage fixed income portfolios, tools for market analysis, and procedures for measuring and communicating portfolio performance.

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.

Fraud

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

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.

Short Term Investment Options

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

For many years short-term investing was pretty boring, with interest rates being close to zero, and expected to stay there for quite a while, and banks not that interested in CDs.  Status quo for many investors was using a combination of leaving compensating balances with their bank and the LGIP.  With interest rates on the rise and banks more interested in your deposits, the short-term investment environment has changed.  In this panel, we will explore various strategies and options for optimizing your short-term investments.

How Governments Can Use Data to Enhance Constituent Experiences

  • Date: 9/23/2020
  • 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.

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).

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.

Merchant Services

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

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.

Finding the Right Rate Design for Your Utility

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

Utility rates can be structured in many ways—there can be fixed charges, usage charges, block pricing, usage allowances, low-income discounts, and different ways to group the customer classes. All of these features affect how the rate burden is distributed to your customers. The rate design chosen by your organization can be a function of history, policy choices, and what data is available in your billing system. Sometimes your organization might develop new priorities, such as affordability concerns or conservation goals. When you see some issues in your utility rate structure, how do you address them? In this session we will use a case study from Skagit Public Utility District to describe the process of considering alternatives and changing a rate design.

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.

Purchasing Cards

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

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.

2020 Panel Discussion: What Does an Effective Utility Look Like in the Future?

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

Utilities of all sizes face similar challenges, most of which put cost and funding pressures on the organization. Our panel of finance directors from regional city utilities and special purpose districts will discuss what a financially optimal utility looks like in the future and the various challenges that need to be over-come (and paid for) to get there, inclusive of IT security, technology advancement, financial health, rate affordability, customer communication, work force stabilization and infrastructure integrity. Panelists will include finance directors from local cities and special purpose districts.

2020 Legislative Update

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • Track: Legislative Update

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

 

Communicating with Council

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

This presentation will focus on best practices for presenting technical, financial information to a non-technical audience.  We will talk about how to make your point effectively, efficiently, and which tools best suit the purpose.  Come with your own questions and challenges and we will work through practical solutions together.

Taxes and User Fees Survey

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • 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.

Financial Policies – the what, why, and how

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

11 Ways Smart People Deal with Uncertainty

  • Date: 9/24/2020
  • 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.

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.  That’s where the art and science of Mindfulness can help. 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.

 

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: 9/25/2020
  • 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.

Top Compliance Issues

  • Date: 9/25/2020
  • Track: DRS

Property Taxes

  • Date: 9/25/2020
  • Track: General

To be determined

How to Analyze a Fixed Income Portfolio Using Excel

  • Date: 9/25/2020
  • 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.

Social Security for Public Employers

  • Date: 9/25/2020
  • 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.