Monthly Archives: August 2013

In the Know: Tax Incremental Financing (TIF)


With the ebbs and flows of property values and tax revenues received by local governments, a hot topic of debate involves the use of TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) to fund local infrastructure and revitalization projects. Black Mountain Software offers TIF management software specifically designed to automatically calculate tax by property and easily track multiple TIFs, but nothing can completely eliminate the complexity that TIFs add to a clerk’s accounting tasks. It does help to have a clear understanding of TIF basics, however. Below is a breakdown of what TIF is, how it works, and the key controversies that surround this financing tool.

What is TIF?

TIF, or Tax Increment Financing, is a fiscal tool used by local governments to “self-finance” capital projects for economic development projects.  TIF allows communities to borrow money to pay for infrastructure improvements such as sewers, facilities, bridges, and roads.  TIF can fund an individual project, or can be a part of a larger overall finance package used to revitalize an area or attract/retain new businesses (aka, TIF districts). Read more >

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Journey of a BMS Summer Intern (Part II)

by: Abigail Luke, BMS Summer Intern

Week 9

Hello, again!

Here I am, still enjoying my summer internship at Black Mountain Software. At this point I have been able to work with a lot of the staff here and have become well-acquainted. I have also learned a lot and gained many new experiences.

These past weeks I have been working on development projects. These projects are ones that improve a specific function within the government accounting software. I have also been helping with reports, creating ones requested by customers to give them necessary information to help them make their job a little easier. Read more >

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Getting the Most Out of Your Government Conference Experience

Autumn is fast approaching and alongside it comes many exciting things: colorful Montana foliage, brisk nights, a new school year, new budgets, and…conferences.

In order to make the most of the bustling September conference schedule, we like to put our heads together and make a plan of attack.

Previously, we’ve talked about how conference attendees can maximize their conference experience with these five tips:

  • Navigate through the chaos.  Knowing that conferences are jam-packed with information and activities, determine a plan of action ahead of time.  List out the vendors you want to see and the seminars you want to attend ahead of time, so you don’t forget and miss out!
Read more >
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How Many Monitors Are Too Many?

By: Julia Caro, Utility Billing Support Team Lead

One, two, three, four…do you have multiple monitors, like two or more?

Tim Mielke, Utility Billing Support Specialist, uses three!

In our office it’s not just convenient, it’s a necessity!

Do you need more than one, we can’t say…but these pros and cons can help decide in a big, big way.

Pros of multiple monitors:

  • Multiple monitors can increase productivity.
  • Multiple monitors allow the user to open multiple programs to be viewed simultaneously.
  • More monitors mean more resolution options, so windows are easier to read.
  • With more monitors, the need to write notes on paper is decreased.
Read more >
Posted in BMS Products, BMS Staff, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on How Many Monitors Are Too Many?

How Much Can You Charge for Your John Hancock: Guide for Notary Publics

the church of notary public

Did you know that notaries in Maine can solemnize marriage? Or that notary publics in Washington DC can become government notaries and sign documents in any state?  Or that Louisiana notaries must carry errors and omissions (E&O) insurance?

While these are all lesser-known facts about notaries, even the simple questions like “How much can a notary charge?” are often unknown.  A recent discussion on the City Clerk Cafe LinkedIn Group for Government Clerks found that the answers, though regulated by individual states under the Notary Act, are vastly different.  That’s because while the state government often outlines common fee maximums, there is ambiguity when it comes to charging for things like “mobile” or travel fees, and wait times.  Also, while state maximums control the maximum amount a notary is allowed to charge, it is left up to the notary whether they want to charge less, or nothing at all.  The notary also has the power to determine if they want to charge a flat rate, or a per-document rate. Read more >

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