By Justin Ross, IU Professor of Public Economics
Link to the above graphic –Overall Concept County Financial Decision Support
Project Context – Regional Support and Partnerships:
- Regional Opportunity Initiatives – Upland Region. Brown County is in the “Uplands Region” and has received ROI grants to support housing studies, Ready Communities, and Ready Schools.
- Given an assessment by Michael Hicks of Ball State that “54 of Indiana’s 92 counties are in absolute population decline,” support for “Financially Sustainable Counties” may be of help to the region.
- IU Center for Rural Engagement
Project Update – meeting notes below: Follow-Up Video Conference – 9/20/2019. Roger Morris, Jomar Floyd
Data Warehouse and Examples. A data warehouse can be used to store the information provided to the State from the Counties to support analysis and decision making. Information from the State is available to download and can be transferred to a data warehouse.
Data Warehousing > Concepts > Data Modeling – Conceptual, Logical, And Physical Data Models – 2018 County Financial Decision Support Model Data Sets
- County of Los Angeles https://data.lacounty.gov/
- IBM Cognos – Miami-Dade County. The first step for Miami-Dade County was to find a technology partner that could help turn its vision of building a smarter county into a reality. “We’ve been an IBM® Cognos® shop since the late 90s …” https://www.ibm.com/case-studies/miami-dade-county
- Clark County Nevada “IBM Helps Clark County Deliver Social Services – Analytics Helps Improve Citizen Service, Adds Millions in New Revenue
- IBM Cognos – Supported by North Dakotas State Govt.
Example – Current Situation (Status Quo). Analysis of property assessment trends with data available through the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF). Data had to be downloaded one year at a time to manually develop a consolidated spreadsheet.
- Property Assessments and Taxes 2012-2019 with follow-up support and analysis provided by DLGF. (Assessments correlate to revenue)
- Article on the topic – Brown County Democrat – April 9, 2019. BCD, Property tax bills are in the mail by Sara Clifford. A property’s assessed value is one of the figures used to calculate a tax bill. … Overall, the net assessed value of property across all of Brown County — the taxable value after exemptions are subtracted — has grown by $35.5 million since tax year 2017.
- “First-Ever – County Financial Plan (2019-2021). The intent is to update the plan every year after the annual budget has been approved by the State. (This plan does not include a capital improvement plan).
- The 2020 County Budget Process — example of “pulling it out of the air” when it comes to making decisions resulting in increased property taxes.
- The County GIS System (https://brownin.wthgis.com/) provides five years of data on assessments and tax trends that can be stratified by type of property (commercial, residential, farm) as well as by areas such as neighborhoods and township.
Support for County Financial Decisions Support – the Concept – (See above graphic)
- Revenues – Can include “total revenues and expenses” which can be from all sources or just one account or subaccount.
- Tax Increases (or transfers) can include income, property, other OR can include revenue from “Transfers.” For example, money from a Rainy Day Fund is transferred to cover a deficit in another account or expense such as health insurance.
- Historical and Trend Data is critical for timely and effective decision making.
- An understanding of tax policy another needed knowledge area.
- What-if analysis. If data easily available, projections can be made to anticipate economic impacts, assess the effects of any policy changes (such as on taxes) or any economic development-related strategies.
History – IU SPEA/MPA Support for Brown Country
- 2017 Student Report – Covered by the Brown County Democrat with links to the full report. Report: Local taxes, job options need further scrutiny By Sara Clifford/Brown County Democrat
- 2018 Student Report. Brown County Democrat, IU students discuss how data can guide county’s financial decisions By Sara Clifford
- The Initial Research Questions for the Projects
Other Projects Indiana – Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). Community Vitality Indicators (CVI) that could be supported through a data warehouse and analytic support.
- Data indicates that 54 of Indiana’s 92 counties are in absolute population decline. This means that the outward migration exceeds the inward migration by margins significant enough that the net gain between annual births and deaths is insufficient to make up the difference. In some counties the deaths already exceed births. In addition, 24 counties are growing at a rate slower than the country as a whole and are classified as being in relative decline. At best the current growth rate casts them as neutral.
- Healthy communities share certain characteristics and these characteristics provide CVIs that Indiana communities can benchmark to gauge their vibrancy. These characteristics should guide community discussions and plans should be developed to encourage them.
- 2016 Assessment – Community Performance Indicators (CPI). The CPIs are supplemented with data from The Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University. (Note the term “Performance” was replaced with “Vitality” in 2017.
- Purdue Support – CVIs