Category Archives: City Clerk Cafe

How to Adapt to New Technology: A Guide for the Technically Challenged

You’re never old enough to know everything you should. But you’re never old enough to learn through osmosis either, which is why admitting you don’t know how can be just as difficult as taking the steps to learn. For many, this applies especially to new technology, where it’s easy to feel intimidated and stick to old ways of doing things, even when there’s a better solution available. But if you’ve been putting off learning that new system at work, or struggling to keep up with evolving technologies at home, what better time to learn than now?

Despite how overwhelming getting started can feel, learning something new doesn’t have to be a chore. Read more >

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Privacy Risks and Your In-Home Devices

Smart devices can send us reminders, check the weather, make a grocery list, regulate the heat in our house, and…make us prone to security breaches???

We are more connected to our devices than ever before. They do everything for us. But a new worry about these interactions has surfaced: do they protect our privacy and information enough?

When everyday devices connect to the Internet to send and receive information, this information is called the Internet of Things (ioT). It is predicted that by the end of 2022, the IoT will account for 13 billion connected devices, which means 13 billion chances for privacy to be breached or hacked over these devices’ lifetime. Read more >

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How to Make a Big Software Switch Less Intimidating

Oh no you’ve really done it this time!

You’ve met with the vendor. You’ve made the decision. You’ve cut the purchase order. And now? Now you have to go through with it!

A major software change is incredibly intimidating for many agencies seeking an update to their systems. It means dealing with a lot of information, learning new processes, integrating the system, taking the network off-line, and training employees. As a software provider for local governments, schools and utilities, we are no strangers to the intimidation factor. That’s why we’ve pledged a great deal of our efforts towards making the process as pain-free as possible. Read more >

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New Web Portal Aims to Help Small Communities Apply for Federal Funding

Since the passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act earlier this year, there are billions of dollars available for local governments to update crumbling infrastructure. However, accessing those funds is not always as easy as it sounds when navigating the grant application process and accompanying bureaucracy feels more like a funhouse Odyssey than a walk in the park. Luckily, a new joint venture will launch this summer designed to help small and mid-sized cities secure the federal bag.

Local Infrastructure Hub, a collaboration between the US Conference of Mayors (USCM), the National League of Cities (NLC), and Results for America will go live July 1st as reported by American City & County. Read more >

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Infrastructure Bills Provide Special Considerations for Smaller Communities

With the passing of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, state and local governments will soon have the resources necessary to address longstanding infrastructure needs that traditionally have only been able to be funded on an annual basis. Instead, this bill allows cities and counties more breathing room to fully prioritize major projects and implement solutions over a five-year period to adequately meet the demands of their constituents.

The bill has set aside $284 billion for transportation, $55 billion for water, $65 billion for broadband, $73 billion for energy and power, $21 billion for environmental remediation, $8.3 billion for western water infrastructure (to address drought conditions), and $46 billion for resiliency purposes. Read more >

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Local Governments and Blockchain: A Match Made in Digital Heaven

Despite niche interest outside of the cryptocurrency community during its inception in 2008, blockchain technology is starting to go mainstream as local governments explore new ways to utilize the digital ledger system for improved security, efficiency, and transparency.

This is because blockchain technology offers an easy way to track and verify digital transactions. For example, each taxpayer to pay their property taxes to the county through the blockchain would have their payments logged as a unique “block” containing encrypted transaction information and timestamps. Each transactional block would also contain information referencing the block that preceded it (known as a cryptographic hash function). Read more >

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More Funding for Infrastructure Means Broadband, Water/Sewer Improvements and Jobs

With the American Rescue Plan Act that passed in March, the Treasury Department has begun to set aside $350 billion in emergency funds for qualifying states, local and tribal governments. Among other things, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can be used to support public health costs, ameliorate the negative socio-economic effects of the past year, and perhaps most importantly, invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

Broadband infrastructure investments are particularly timely after a year that saw dramatic increases in both remote work and overall data usage. According to American City & County, over 30 million Americans currently do not have access to high-speed internet, especially in rural areas. Read more >

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Schedule, Manage, and Track Better Than Ever

Issuing and tracking permits, as well as scheduling inspections, are integral parts of a city’s ability to enforce municipal codes and ensure construction is completed according to current safety standards. Without these regulations, our cities would be a mess, which is why we offer a robust and fully integrated permitting application to assist in performing this vital process.

Black Mountain Software’s Permitting is a standalone application that makes it easy to maintain detailed property information. Once a property is added, permits can be issued according to local zoning ordinances, which includes automated fee calculation to save your entity and employees valuable time. Read more >

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Common Mistakes to Avoid with Year-End Financial Statements

Anyone that has ever worked with year-end financial statements knows that a thorough review to ensure accuracy and accountability is vital. With so many items and numbers to scour, it’s a daunting and overwhelming task. But, to help with the year-end financial report blues, we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes found on financial statements so you can know what to look for ahead of time.

Overlooked Expense Line Items

Sometimes, even large expenditures can be overlooked. These expenses can include everything from salaries and benefits, costs to provide services, to office supplies and other operating expenses. A quick once-over and comparison to estimated expenses on the budget can help guarantee that an expense has not been miscategorized. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities | Comments Off on Common Mistakes to Avoid with Year-End Financial Statements

Big Data for Small Cities

US House Passes Moving Forward Act in a Bid to Improve Local Broadband Infrastructure

As a part of their Rebuild With Us campaign, the National League of Cities (NLC) announced that the US House of Representatives recently passed the Moving Forward Act, a bill designed to increase federal investment in broadband infrastructure on a municipal level. While the bill also includes investments in public safety, broadband consumer protections, affordability and digital equity, there is a significant focus on new provisions to help smaller cities that might be struggling. These provisions include building new or updating existing broadband infrastructure, allowing more flexibility when it comes to investing in local broadband, and prioritizing connectivity for rural areas. Read more >

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