Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Director Carter's presentation on financial reserves...

Finance Director John Carter has an excellent presentation on reserve funds and city budgeting that he addressed to council on September 21st. Director Carter steps through a comparative analysis of Puget Sound City reserve funds, how reserves affect Bond ratings, and the usage of reserve funds. The material is informative for understanding how city budgets are formed.

Some choice quotes:
"...reserve balance had been growing through 2007..."
"We need to be looking at revenue policies and debt service policies...and debt capacity models."
"This year we have already seen the value of our investments drop by about $10 million in total..."
"What processes should be in place to access those reserves..."
"What do we do if we don't meet reserve targets..."
"Our five year projections have not had much focus..."

Council member Stan Snapp commented that their have been no meetings on financial future strategy since he has been elected to council.

Poverty Rates in Whatcom County

The  print version of the Wall Street Journal featured an article with a U.S. county map shaded by poverty rates. The data came from the Census ACS 2008 survey.  Whatcom County was the (only) dark spot in the top left corner of Puget Sound, which meant we are the only county in Puget Sound to have a poverty rate over 14.1%. The official data for Whatcom County can be found here.   A screenshot of poverty rates in Whatcom County from the 2008 ACS data, with some math added by me, is below.  28,205 out of the 192,289 (14.67%) of us in Whatcom County live in poverty for 2008.

We are the dark spot in the top left corner.