Tag Archives: Finance

Getting Started with Lean Projects and Lean Measures

Saving in a piggy bank

What do you think of when you hear the word “lean government”? Painful? Financial hardship? More work?

What you rarely hear in conjunction with the word “lean” is the benefits of lean operation. When properly executed, effective lean management can lead to sustainable, efficient, and effective government offices – offices that deliver more value with less waste. The key is finding and establishing the appropriate lean procedures and executing them correctly.


Keys to Successful Lean Measures



In order for “lean” to work, it must be executed by leaders who introduce the lean concepts in a manner that is: respectful, positive, opportunistic to the office as a whole, open-minded, adoptive, and by a person who is personally committed to the process. Read more >

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In terms of finance, what is a derivative?


Derivative: It’s a confusing topic, which is why it was no surprise to see a flurry of activity on a city clerk listserv the other day when one of the clerks received a Notice of Municipal Derivatives Settlement. The answers she got were as foggy as the term.

So, what exactly is a derivative? We decided to simplify it for you using a mnemonic devise using the word “derivative.”

D – Derivative: A Derivative is a financial contract that derives its value based on the performance of another entity.

E – Entity: Entities determine the value of derivative, such as an asset, index, or interest rate. Read more >

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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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Small Town Stories: Hazelton, ND

Black Mountain Software recently hit an enormous milestone: signing our 500th customer.  But hold on!  Before we write about that, we want to share our happiness about customer number 499, Hazelton, North Dakota. After working with municipal officials since 2009, BMS is excited to equip Hazelton with the whole nine yards: Utility Billing software Finance software, Payroll software, and our Automated Meter Reading interface module.

You may have heard about the town of Hazelton, ND, which in 2005 offered families up to two lots, $20,000 towards a home, and lots of elbow room to anyone willing to give the cold winters a try and make Hazelton home. Read more >

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