On September 10, the Division of Local Government Services issued the CY 2019/SFY 2020 Best Practices Inventory. Local Finance Notice 2019-12 provides guidance on this year’s process. All municipalities, including State Fiscal Years municipalities, must submit their Best Practices checklist by Wednesday, October 30, 2019.
As we have previously reported, the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS, or the Division) consulted with the League, the Municipal Managers Association and the Governmental Finance Officers Association, in crafting the 2019 Best Practices Inventory (BPI, or the Inventory).
This year’s Inventory includes the following changes:
- All municipalities, including State Fiscal Year municipalities will have the same deadline of Wednesday, October 30. The Inventory can be submitted before it is discussed at a governing body meeting.
- The Inventory is now hosted on an internet-based platform instead of completing the Excel form. Please note that all questions must be answered before the Inventory can be submitted. Also, certain questions will require additional information to be included in the comment section of the Inventory before the on-line platform considers the question complete.
- The 84 questions are distributed among three categories:
- Core Competencies (38 questions) address statutory and regulatory compliance obligations and other areas of sound municipal finance and operations. With each worth 1 point.
- Best Practices (15 questions) are fiscal and operational practices that are of significant benefit to many municipalities but not foundational in nature or uniformly applicable to all municipalities. They are worth one-half (1/2) point with the exception of a shared service question that is worth a full point.
- Unscored Survey (31 questions) is meant to gather information and do not count toward a municipality’s final score, however, they must be answered to complete the Inventory and are worth no points.
- There is a total of 53 scored questions, which are the Core Competencies & Best Practices questions, for a possible total of 46 points.
- The Inventory includes 30 new scored questions.
- The Division has retired certain questions from previous years because the Division is satisfied that municipalities have embraced the obligations achieving uniform adoption.
- The municipality’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer must both certify the Inventory using the on-line platform.
- The Inventory results and certification must be referenced in the meeting minutes at which the Inventory results are discussed.
- If your municipality can affirmatively answer Question 76, which asks if your municipality knows of any projects that are using or will be using the Opportunity Zone tax incentive, you will be required to complete and upload the Opportunity Zone Project Status spreadsheet. An upload file button will appear for the questions.
While there is a total of 53 scored questions, with the half point questions there is only a total score of 46 points. You need 30 or more points to avoid having final aid withheld. Otherwise a percentage of your final aid payment will be withheld as follows:
30 and greater = No withholding
25-29 questions = 25% of final CMPTRA and ETR payment withheld
20-24 questions = 50% of final CMPTRA and ETR payment withheld
0-19 questions = 100% of final CMPTRA and ETR payment withheld
Municipalities may submit appeals before the submission deadline, but after their Best Practices Checklist has been submitted to the Division. The Division encourages that appeals be submitted in conjunction with the Best Practices Checklist submission. Appeals to the Director must be submitted no later than the close of business Wednesday, October 30, 2019.
We want to again thank the Division, under the leadership of Director Melanie Walter and Deputy Director Kevin Heydel, for the manner in which it has dealt with this requirement, and for the courtesy and professionalism of the staff, especially that of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Officer Jason Martucci.
Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative