Category Archives: City Clerk Cafe

Tips for Seeking Government Grant Monies for Technology and Beyond!

Money!The bad news? Following the sequester, cuts went into place that reduced funding for state grants by $5.1 billion.

The good news? The result was higher grant funding (in some states) where grants in 2013 actually surpassed that of 2012—and there are still a significant amount of subsidies left!

The Center for Digital Government (CDG) estimates $93.1 billion will be spent on IT-related purchases in state and local government in 2014, and your organization can get a piece of this pie. Here’s how.

Tips for Seeking Government Grant Monies:

  • Know what grants are out there for the taking. CDW-G has a list of technology grants available for local government agencies. Read more >
  • Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities | Leave a comment

    FAQ’s For Writing Effective Emails

    English: email envelope

    Have you ever deleted an email before opening it? Or responded to a long email before reading it all the way through?

    You may feel a twinge of guilt over doing this, but perhaps it’s not completely your fault. After all, if the subject line had caught your attention, and the note was concise, would you have responded differently?

    Despite the fact that email has been around for decades, there is still a lot of confusion about what makes a good or bad email. So, we’ve put together a list of commonly asked questions about emails to help your email communications become more readable, concise, and recipient-friendly. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Small Cities | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

    Is Holacracy the New Hierarchy?

    English: large meeting room

    “Holacracy”, a term coined by hip, employee-centric companies like Zappos, is becoming a corporate culture buzz term. But is it a great way to organize an office, or is it just another buzz word?

    What is holacracy?

    Holacracy refers to offices where the hierarchy of traditional managers does not exist, and authority is distributed evenly throughout the office.

    Hierarchy, on the other hand, is a more conventional, top-down approach. In order to be successful, it requires strong leaders who are able to motivate their employees through a more traditional, and almost parental role.  The problem with traditional hierarchy systems, however, is that if an organization lacks strong leadership or unified goals with its employees, it can affect employee performance and morale. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About…Municipal Bonds!

    Municipal BondsTime to bond with bonds.  But in order to have a relationship with them, first we’d better get to know them.  We’ve pulled together some very basic questions about municipal bonds, why they are used, and who uses them.

    What is a municipal bond?

    A municipal bond is a bond issued by a local government (the state, city, or county) or government agency (special district, public utility, airport, seaport, or school district) to pay for projects and/or improvements. These projects can range in scope, for example, improvements to government buildings and public places, a new fire station, or public utility improvements. Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities | Leave a comment

    10 Things Every City Clerk Should Know How to Do

    Government Building

    Did you know that only 8 percent of people follow through on their New Year’s Resolutions? Most have already faltered by today’s date.

    We feel, however, that it’s never too late to start anew and make goals for the year. That’s why we decided to compile of list of useful advice for city clerks and utility billing clerks, inspired by conversations and comments made by the hardworking municipal clerks that we network with all year long. Check out the list below and decide where you are really making strides, and where you could do better. Start today and make your own resolution to be the best you can be in 2014! Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Partners, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Making Uncivil Meetings Civil Again

    handshake isolated on business background

    Have your civil meetings become uncivil? Do they look more like the chaotic clamor of an unsavory encounter you’d see on TV than the civilized, brief, and efficient protocol of a government dialog?

    While no commission wants citizens to feel as though they don’t have a voice, if allowed to break protocol, civil meetings can quickly take a turn for the ugly. By following a few civic meeting guidelines, you can ensure that concerns and grievances are met, 1st Amendment rights are exercised, and the outcome is both productive and efficient. Tips for Civil Civic Meetings 1. Create a Process. Read more > Many elected officials and local governments have created processes for civil complaints and concerns which include: 1) having the citizen contact the department or agency directly, 2) if dissatisfied with the response, complete a written request for a response to said concern.
    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About…Water Meters

    A typical water meter register showing a meter...

    We recently came across an extensive article “Tech Brief – Water Meters” in the California Water Journal (Fall, 2013) that explained in great detail the cost, installation, and types of water meters.

    Since so few of us have time to divulge in a six-page article, we thought we would break it down into a cliff-note version for all our water utility billing software customers out there.

    What do water meters do?

    • Provides readings to determine usage to be billed
    • Allow water utilities to bill based on usage instead of flat rate billing
    • Monitor the volume of water put out by the utility
    • Help detect water leaks in the system

    What types of water meters are there? Read more >

    Posted in BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Office Back Pain Prevention

    We’ve talked about how headsets can prevent pains in the neck, and how monitors can prevent eye strain, but we have yet to talk about the “backbone” of work ergonomics: back pain prevention.

    Because our backs are involved in every function we perform at work–sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, pushing and pulling–they are easily neglected, yet are such a vital part of our well-being and comfort.  As the cold weather slowly approaches and aches and pains seems to appear out of nowhere, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your back health and apply these simple back pain prevention techniques.

    When sitting

    • Be sure your workspace is adjusted to accommodate your height and seating position. 
    • Read more >
    Posted in City Clerk Cafe | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

    5 Unique Holiday Office Party Ideas

    Think you can’t possibly cram down one more wiener wrap while sitting around listening to Let it Snow at another office party this year? Or, maybe you are the one tasked with planning the perfect office party, and are sweating like a snowman in front of a fire trying to figure out how to make this year’s party fun.

    Either way, you and your co-workers can have a blast at the next holiday office party by “freshening up” your traditional Christmas or holiday event.  Here are five unique holiday office party ideas that are inexpensive, unique, and fun. Time to think outside the “gift” box! Read more >

    Posted in BMS Events, City Clerk Cafe | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

    Cost of impact fees: who pays for them and what they fund

    We recently found a study done on impact fees: what they fund, what percentage is allocated where, and to whom the highest impact fees are imposed. We found it so interesting, we developed an infographic using the information to share with everyone here at the Clerk Cafe. Here are the results.

    You may find it interesting to see what types of structures are charged the most, and what programs the fees contribute to.

    What are impact fees?

    Impact fees are fees imposed by local government on new or proposed development projects to pay for the cost of providing public services (water, sewer, gas, streets, sidewalks) to that development. Read more >

    Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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