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How Florence, Alabama Found Millions in Sales Tax Revenue

With just over 40,000 residents, Florence is Alabama’s 11th largest city. Home to the University of North Alabama, this vibrant and welcoming town also hosts the state’s most popular renaissance festival, held annually each October.

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Bob Leyde, beloved City Clerk for the City of Florence, Alabama, is a pillar of the local community as well as a talented and innovative administrator. He wisely utilized Avenu’s vast capabilities to generate up-to-the-minute analytics for more accurate projections of sales tax revenue during the COVID pandemic and increase the efficiency of his administration staff.
Here’s a sneak peek:
  • Detailed reporting helped Bob overcome budgeting challenges and increase compliance.
  • Accurate and real-time information about current business opportunities and revenue collection is crucial to his decision-making process.
  • Avenu streamlined the city’s tax administration with a laser-focused audit process.
  • Bob encourages leaders of cities of any size to see how Avenu’s technology can optimize operations and maximize revenue generation.

This discussion was taken from our show Local Government Insights. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple, and all your other favorite podcast platforms. Take a moment listen on your favorite platform. We would appreciate your reviews and feedback as we continue to release upcoming episodes.

COVID-19 Impact on Kalamazoo County, MI with Thomas Whitener

Thomas Whitener recently unseated a 13-year incumbent in a tight election that was fueled by promises of change and cultural shift that was highly sought after across the county. Thomas is licensed Real Estate Agent, entrepreneur, and former interactive systems and balance designer who is making a big impact on Kalamazoo County. He has built his career on openness and transparency and plans to establish a culture of accountability and fairness to all constituents.

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Thomas joined us to discuss many of the challenges that local government leaders are facing and highlight some of the best insights across the industry.
Here’s a sneak peek of the episode:
  • What it was like to run a people focused campaign during the pandemic
  • The roles and responsibilities of county treasurer
  • The Delinquent Tax Responsibility and how that was affected by COVID
  • Resources that helped constituents avoid foreclosure
  • Budget shortfalls
  • What recovery look like for Kalamazoo County as we climb out of the pandemic

This discussion was taken from our show Local Government Insights. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple, and all your other favorite podcast platforms. Take a moment listen on your favorite platform. We would appreciate your reviews and feedback as we continue to release upcoming episodes.

CASE STUDY: How Rolling Hills Estates, California Lowered Costs & Increased Revenue

The business community is a vital part of any local government and managing it successfully is necessary to thrive. Cities have the challenge of businesses not complying through either misunderstanding the regulations or trying to fly under the radar. Non-compliance certainly leads to missing revenue, but what effects does using burdensome paper process have on administration?

Effectively managing revenue administration can make the difference between a balanced budget and a budgeting crisis. Yet jurisdictions face mounting challenges in keeping pace with the changes in technology, citizen demand for a digital experience, and increases in regulations which leads to more and more manual processes. Staff deal with challenges of not having enough manpower during business license renewal periods while juggling other critical projects.

To manage their revenue streams effectively, governments need data driven, cost-efficient, and streamlined technologies to maximize tax compliance and ensure they get the tax revenue that is owed to them.

Director and City Treasurer of Rolling Hill Estates California, Mike Whitehead, was seeking the ultimate tax administration solution that would significantly increase their compliance, unburden staff, process business licenses in a timely manner, be secure, and most of all, help businesses easily pay their business license tax online.

Rolling Hills Estates faced a number of challenges with business license administration, and maximizing compliance. After extensive research and collaboration with other jurisdictions, they made the decision to outsource their Business License Administration to Avenu. Did it make sense for them and to also outsource a compliance program?

Read the case study, and learn why the answer was a resounding YES!

Rolling Hills Estates, California

COVID-19 Impact on City of Eastvale, CA: The City That Never Stopped

Bryan Jones was appointed as the City Manager of Eastvale, CA in 2018. Under his leadership the city has risen to new heights and become one of the Top 20 Best Places to Live in the country.

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In recent months amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Eastvale has seen immense growth across various industries including:

    • 32.26% increase in new business applications and renewals
    • 5.95% increase in property taxes
    • 7.69% increase in sales & use tax
    • 6.49 % increase in franchise fees

Learn the principles that made this city a success story during COVID!

This discussion was taken from our show Local Government Insights. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple, and all your other favorite podcast platforms. Take a moment listen on your favorite platform. We would appreciate your reviews and feedback as we continue to release upcoming episodes.

ARPA Key Considerations for State & Local Governments

With the American Rescue Plan Act, state and local governments are seeing opportunities to address some of the challenges they are facing brought on by the pandemic. Learn what this meansyou’re your jurisdiction.

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Mark Funkhouser, is the president of Funkhouser & Associates and the former mayor of Kansas City. He walks us through key considerations about the ARPA including:

  • The “eligible use cases” that were released and the intent behind some of the areas addressed
  • What governments be taking a look at when determining their overall strategy for spending
  • Reporting requirements
  • How to prioritize key areas

This discussion was taken from our show Local Government Insights. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple, and all your other favorite podcast platforms. Take a moment listen on your favorite platform. We would appreciate your reviews and feedback as we continue to release upcoming episodes.

Webinar: Approved Ways to Invest ARP Funding

Among the $1.9 trillion worth of federal COVID-19 relief in the newly signed American Rescue Plan Act is $350 billion for “Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

For many cities and counties, the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP) state and local funds are not just a $350 billion lifeline; they represent the largest positive fiscal jolt to their budgets in decades.

The stakes are high. The money needs to move fast and be deployed smartly, effectively and equitably. In 10 years, we may look back at this time and ask: Which places merely spent their money, and which places invested it? And how will your jurisdiction be remembered?

Watch our live Q&A session where we answered questions on the approved ways to spend this money and a discussion on the formula to invest the funds in ways that will support your community and bring additional revenue in for years to come. ​​​​

Approved Ways to Invest ARPA Funding from Retail Strategies on Vimeo.

 

Additional Resources:

An Essential Task: Taking Records Digital

As technology advances, there comes the strenuous task of updating old documents into the new systems. Without these updates, older documents might become lost in the transition.

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John Buckley, Plymouth County Register of Deeds, walks us through the digital transformation of records:

    • A brief look at John’s career
    • A history of Plymouth’s legacy
    • Insight into transitioning old documents to digital
    • Perspective on the digital shift

This discussion was taken from our show Local Government Insights. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple, and all your other favorite podcast platforms. Take a moment listen on your favorite platform. We would appreciate your reviews and feedback as we continue to release upcoming episodes.

What the American Rescue Plan Means For State and Local Governments

The COVID-19 public health crisis and resulting economic crisis have put state and local governments under unprecedented strain. The American Rescue Plan provides $350 billion in emergency funding to eligible state, local, territorial and Tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 emergency and bring back jobs.

State and local governments across America have been under a tremendous strain in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, and while the need for services has increased, state and local revenues have plummeted as a result of the economic fallout from the crisis.

Who Will Receive Funding

According to specific guidance released by the U.S. Department of Treasury on May 10, 2021, the State and Local COVID Fiscal Recovery Fund will be made available as follows:

States

The state funding portion is approximately $195 billion, with $25.5 billion distributed equally among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the remaining amount distributed according to a formula based on unemployment. You can read more on allowable uses and limitations from the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers ARP Analysis.

Counties

The bill includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county in America, as well as other crucial investments in local communities, including $1.5 billion over two years for public lands counties. Specific county-level estimates can be found through the National Association of Counties interactive search table.

Cities

The bill includes approximately $45.57 billion in funding that is available directly to metropolitan cities with a population of 50,000 and $19.53 billion will be administered to cities, towns, and villages with populations fewer than 50,000 (These funds will be directed to each state for further redistribution based on a per-capita formula established by the U.S. Treasury within 30 days). More information can be found at the National League of Cities

When & How Funding Should Be Used

Localities will receive the funds in two tranches – the first, after the U.S. Treasury certifies the proceeds to each jurisdiction and the second, one year later. Funding must be spent by the end of calendar year 2024.

States and local governments will enjoy significant flexibility to allocate funds for the following “eligible uses”:

  1. Supporting public health expenditures, by providing resources for COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health staff
  2. Addressing negative economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 crisis, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector
  3. Investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure to improve access to clean drinking water and to expand access to broadband internet.
  4. Replacing lost public sector revenue to secure government services despite the reduction in public revenue experienced due to the pandemic
  5. Providing premium pay for essential workers, such as public health and safety staff

Considerations for ARPA Expenditures

ARPA funds are non-recurring and should be applied primarily to non-recurring expenditures.

  • Care should be taken to avoid creating new programs or add-ons to existing programs that require an ongoing financial commitment.
  • Replenishing reserves used to offset revenue declines during the pandemic should be given high priority to rebuild financial flexibility/stability and restore fiscal resiliency.
  • Use of ARPA funds to cover operating deficits caused by COVID-19 should be considered temporary and additional budget restraint may be necessary to achieve/maintain structural balance in future budgets.
  • Investment in critical infrastructure is a particularly well-suited use of ARPA funds because it is a non-recurring expenditure that can be targeted to strategically important long- term assets that provide benefits over many years. However, care should be taken to assess any on-going operating costs that may be associated with the project.

Now is the time to collaborate, listen to your citizens, think about the future, and make investments that will create a sustainable future. Avenu is committed to providing a customized approach to helping governments manage ARPA funding and determining an investment strategy. Contact us today!

 

 

 

COVID-19 Impact on City of Pasadena, CA

COVID tested localities in new in challenging ways. While we are coming out of the pandemic, we can learn from different jurisdictions as we prepare for the future.

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Matt Hawkesworth, Finance Director for the City of Pasadena, CA about the different areas of impact COVID-19 has had on the City and how his team has shifted priorities to help balance ever increasing budget deficits.

In this show we discuss:

  • Top areas the City of Pasadena was affected over the past 12-18 months
  • The approach to using reserves during the process
  • The impact of restaurant closures in a city with one of the largest number per capita
  • The American Rescue Plan
  • The importance of resiliency

This discussion was taken from our show Local Government Insights. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple, and all your other favorite podcast platforms. Take a moment listen on your favorite platform. We would appreciate your reviews and feedback as we continue to release upcoming episodes.

Avenu Insights & Analytics Launches Full Scale Short-Term Rental Solution

Avenu combined its 40 years of experience in both software solutions and revenue enhancement services to develop proprietary analytic software which identifies all rentals on Home Away, Airbnb, Flip Key, Craigslist and other sites. A key differentiator for municipalities is the precision and detail that is provided of STRs, which includes the complete and exact address, full name of the owner/operator, and estimated minimum sales.

Clients will be provided a dynamic and interactive dashboard to search areas by map, instantly receive rental inventory statistics, and view the full case history of any property. The tool is also mobile enabled to simplify field investigations.

The other key area of support Avenu is offering is a 24/7 hotline and web-portal for citizens to log any noise or pollution complaints about STRs in their area. The goal of this feature is to take the burden of fielding and tracking complaints off the hands of local governments while readily providing the necessary information so action can be taken.

“As the STR market continues to evolve and grow, it has raised ever increasing challenges that impact economic development, property rights, taxation, and revenue collection for local governments,” stated Avenu CEO, Paul Colangelo. “We are proud to support local communities as they strike a healthy balance between hospitality and community.”

About Avenu Insights & Analytics

Over 2,600 state and local governments have partnered with Avenu to drive positive results for their communities through software administration and revenue enhancement solutions. Avenu’s comprehensive software solutions digitally transform government by modernizing processes, providing online access to records, and reducing costs. Avenu also provides a robust ecosystem of revenue management services that identify and recover untapped revenue. State and local governments work closely with Avenu to increase revenue without raising taxes, streamline internal operations, and improve services by enhancing connectivity for constituents. Avenu is a portfolio company of Mill Point Capital.

About Mill Point Capital
Mill Point Capital is a middle-market private equity firm focused on control-oriented investments in the business services and industrial sectors. The firm works with executive partners to leverage its investment professionals’ experience, while providing strategic and operational guidance designed to drive long-term value creation in its portfolio companies. Mill Point is based in New York.

Originally published on PRWeb.