Financial Decision Support Model – IU Student Support

A presentation by Indiana University (IU) graduate students from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), Masters In Public Administration (MPA) program was conducted on  May 18, 2018, 6:00 p.m. Salmon Room, County Office Building.  Description of the presentation provided below.

This was the second in what we expect to be a long-term project that will provide citizens and their elected representatives with the information and knowledge needed to make competent financial decisions.  From 2018 thru mid-2021, work was continued by Jomar Floyd (IU student/now alumni) and Tim Clark on a proposal to support financial management and modeling.  Constraints on forward progress included Covid, the county’s implementation of a new financial software system, and a new Redevelopment Commission (RDC) project to collect and analyze  property data contained within the the county’s GIS system.

We are grateful for the support of IU and the SPEA/MPA Program. The 2018 report includes an outreach to the other academic disciplines that help leverage needed resources. It also includes a recommendation to request support from the IU Center for Rural Engagement …  who “works with community partners to design and implement innovative approaches to the opportunities and challenges facing rural Indiana.”

At the county level of government, we can provide the data. But, we are a small a small county. We don’t have the capability, resources or expertise to develop and sustain a model. Other rural counties may be in a similar situation.

July 4, 2018. Brown County Democrat.  IU students discuss how data can guide county’s financial decisions by Sara Clifford. A group of Indiana University graduate students spent last semester studying Brown County’s tax structure and other variables. Their goal was to help county leaders develop tools to forecast how changes in taxes, spending, and the county’s economy will affect taxpayers and local government — a “county financial and decision support model.”

  Description of the 2018 Presentation 

Are county revenues and costs trending up or down?  When will tax increases be needed or can we reduce taxes?  What will be the financial impact of the projected declines in population? What might be the financial impact of any economic development plans? Will development strategies lead to increased revenue from property and income taxes?

2018 Project. Graduate students from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), Master’s Public Administration (MPA) program, will be providing a presentation on a prototype for a Brown County Financial Decision and Support model. This model forecasts revenue and expenditure and estimates the effects of changes that the tax structure will have on revenue and expenditures. The first step is developing a forecast model for Brown County’s two largest revenue sources –  Local Income Tax and Property Tax.

The presenters are Jake McVeigh, Jomar Floyd, and Chase Burton. In addition to Jomar and Chase, the database management team consists of Kristen Hurns and Sara Dobbins.  The students were supported by Professors Duncan Denvil and Roger Morris.

2017 Project.  This project is a follow-on project that builds on the findings and recommendations identified in an analysis conducted by a 2017 Graduate SPEA/MPA class. Students Liza Bartlett, Daniel Lopez, and Drew Sherman developed their report and presented their finding to members of the Redevelopment Commission (RDC), county council and the public:  Report: Local taxes, job options need further scrutiny.

A better model for assessing economic sustainability is critical for providing Brown County with the feedback needed to assess the effectiveness of community and economic development plans. This project was supported by the RDC and community members Tim Clark and Brandon Harris.

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