Strengthening Local Government Finances Post-Pandemic

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Strengthening Local Government Finances Post-Pandemic

An interactive roundtable to explore the pandemic's impact on local government financial forecasting and pathways to sustainable budgets.

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About this event

Strengthening Local Government Finances Post-Pandemic

A Virtual Roundtable

The trends emerging from the Covid-19 recession are unlike any previous downturn and they’re having a disproportionate impact on cities. While the federal stimulus has stabilized the economy, sales and property taxes -- the top tax revenue sources for most localities -- have weakened. The stock market has rebounded, but the volatility still has had an impact on public pension liabilities that needs to be monitored. What’s more, public sector employee layoffs in the downturn means there will be fewer contributions to retirement systems going forward.

These trends are occurring in an already-low interest rate environment in which pension portfolio managers have taken on more risk to obtain a reasonable rate of return to fund maturing liabilities. As retirement systems strive toward fiscal sustainability, all of these factors must enter their calculus.

To do so, the GFOA recommends that governments at all levels forecast major revenues and expenditures several years into the future. The forecast, along with its underlying assumptions and methodology, should be clearly stated and made available to stakeholders in the budget process, as well as concisely presented in the final budget document.

This roundtable will engage city officials with their peers across the country to discuss steps they can take to understand the pandemic’s impact on their retirement systems, as well as labor negotiations, and what they can do generate sustainable forecasts and strengthen their budget in the years ahead.

Hosted by Funkhouser & Associates in partnership with GovInvest, the invite-only format will allow peers to exchange notes and get new ideas on how to tackle these challenges.

Roundtable Agenda


  • Welcome and introductions
  • Mark Funkhouser, President, Funkhouser & Associates


  • Strengthening local government finances post-pandemic: major themes
  • Justin Marlowe, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy


  • Discussion


  • Looking long-term: Creating fiscal sustainability through hard decisions
  • Toni Preckwinkle, President, Cook County, Illinois, Board of Commissioners


  • Discussion


  • POBs done right: The West Hartford Experience
  • Shari Cantor, Mayor, West Hartford, Connecticut


  • Discussion


  • Case Study: Creating an OPEB Trust Fund to strengthen government finances
  • Kathleen VonAchen, CFO, Unified Government of Wyandotte County/KCK


  • Discussion


  • ARPA: Putting financial and administrative processes to the test
  • Glen Lee, CFO, Seattle, Washington


  • Discussion and key take aways


  • Adjourn
Strengthening Local Government Finances Post-Pandemic image
Strengthening Local Government Finances Post-Pandemic image