The Balance Sheet

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The Balance Sheet

The Balance Sheet is the blog of the Local Government Commission staff. Click below to sign up to receive email alerts when new blog posts are released.

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For announcements and resources related to ARPA funds and the impacts of COVID-19, visit our Local Government ARPA Resources page.

ARPA Resources

2020 Audit Reports: Resources and Important Announcements

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Resources and instructions for submission of 2020 audit reports are now available on our Submitting Your Audit webpage.

Important - There are several significant and important changes this year to the Data Input Workbooks and the Transmittal Document (TD). Local governments and their auditors will need to understand these changes because they will be impacted by them.

Data Input Workbook

  • Data collected on the Data Input Workbook is now “self-reported.” Beginning with audit reports submitted June 30, 2020, we will not be verifying the reported data. Increased workloads and limited resources prohibit us from continuing this long-standing data verification practice. This move to self-reported data is a critical change in reporting that cannot be overemphasized. The NC General Assembly and various other groups depend on local governmental data; therefore, we urge local governments and their auditors to carefully report accurate data. *Local government finance officers will be required to verify in the Data Input Workbook that the amounts reported reflect the final amounts in their audited financial statements.
  • New questions documenting the unit’s compliance with General Statue 159-25 are included. These questions allow the staff of the LGC to ensure that our records are current and to...

2020 Year End Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Reporting

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In June 2020, GASB issued Technical Bulletin No. 2020-1 (TB 2020-1). TB 2020-1 addressed six frequently asked questions that GASB staff were seeing around the CARES Act and the CRF funds included with the Act. This blog is intended to make North Carolina local governments aware of TB 2020-1 and the related implications for year-end reporting. Several of the questions included in TB 2020-1 have direct impact on how COVID-19 funds should be reported in governmental financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2020.

Question 1 in TB 2020-1 clarifies that the CRF funds are subject to eligibility restrictions, not purpose restrictions. Since the federal government allocated CRF funds to state and local governments based on population allocations, they are subject to eligibility restrictions which have revenue recognitions implications for local governments. Under GASB 33 revenue recognition guidance, the unspent funds on hand at June 30 do not meet the definition of a revenue and should be reported as a liability in the financial statements. Unspent funds at June 30 should NOT be reported as deferred inflows.

Also, Question 5 addresses the reporting of CARES Act resources within enterprise funds and business-type activities in the government-wide statements. The question response is that, except for resources provided for uninsured individuals’...

FY2020 Financial Statement Resources Now Available

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Illustrative statements, pension and OPEB templates, and conversion worksheets for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020 are now available on our Financial Statement Resources webpage. Resources are available for counties, municipalities, boards of education, charter schools, and other unit types.

Please let us know if you have any questions.  You may reach us at SLGFD@nctreasurer.com.

LOGOTIN Project

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Local Government Commission staff is excited to announce its partnership in the Local Government Technology Initiative (LOGOTIN) project. The project is being led by a steering committee comprising representatives from the NC Government Finance Officers Association, the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, the City of High Point, and LGC staff.

The goal of the project is to identify one or more software systems that could assist small and medium-sized local governments in meeting their essential financial, compliance, and reporting obligations in an efficient and transparent manner.

We know that many smaller local governments have difficulty maintaining the accounting records necessary to prepare accurate and timely financial reports.  This project can help local governments by:

  • identifying software systems that meet the financial management needs of smaller local governments
  • eliminating the time and expertise needed to identify a system
  • eliminating costly trial and error of system selection and implementation
  • developing a standard chart of accounts that can be utilized by local governments who wish to use it

We need your assistance to help us understand the financial processes and practices used by local governments throughout North Carolina. If you currently use financial management software, we’re also interested in your experiences using...

COVID-19: GAGAS Audit Alert

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Government Accountability Office logo

The GAO has issued an alert that “highlights audit considerations and reminders given the circumstances related to the pandemic, including those for audits of new government programs arising from the pandemic response as well as ongoing audits.”

We encourage all auditors to read the full alert and to visit the GAO Yellow Book webpage.

Updated Accounting and Reporting Guidance for CARES Funding

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

LGC staff are receiving many questions about the CARES fund accounting and reporting and want to provide updates on a few topics.

Special Revenue Fund vs. General Fund Accounting for CARES Funds:

LGC staff are encouraging local governments to use a special revenue fund to account for and report CARES funding which is consistent with NCGS 159-26(b)(2). The intent of this statute is that units be able to track and report revenues, expenditures, and any unspent cash balances. Using a special revenue fund may be more transparent to granting agencies than accounting for these funds in the General Fund and can also be budgeted multi-year. If units instead use the General Fund to account for these funds, they will need to be able to allocate interest to unspent balances per the FAQ document that is on the US Treasury website. If a local government can meet the reporting requirements using the General Fund, we will accept that presentation. (Please note that the FAQ document is updated as of July 8, 2020. Additional updates may be made by the US Treasury; please refer to its website for the latest guidance). 

GASB...

Executive Orders 124/142 Webinar: July 28, 2020

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

 

August 7, 2020 Update - See the UNC SOG Coates’ Canons blog post on this topic:  Now What? Utility Billing and Collections Post Executive Orders 124/142.

The UNC School of Government is holding a webinar on July 28, 2020, at 1:00pm concerning the EO 124/142 expiration later this week.  Please note that the webinar is free, but registration is required; visit the UNC School of Government COVID-19 website for full details and to register.

EO 124/142 are set to expire at 11:59pm on July 29. The Governor has indicated that he will not extend the provisions related to utilities again. So, now what?

Join Sharon Edmundson, Deputy Treasurer and Director of the State and Local Government Finance Division; Shadi Eskaf, Senior Project Director, Environmental Finance Center; and School faculty member Kara Millonzi at 1:00 p.m. to talk about utility billing and collections post EO 124/142. The group will talk about disconnections, late penalties, and payment plans; in addition, they will also review the financial data collected to date on the...

Community Colleges Offering ACC 3240 NC Local Government Finance this Fall

Friday, July 17, 2020

*8/14/2020: Updates to courses offerings have been made since the time of this blog post. Please visit the Training Opportunities section of the Information for Finance Officers web page.

Several campuses are offering the NC Local Government Finance community college course this fall. The specific courses that we know will be available are listed below. We will continue to update this list as more campuses notify us. Many of these are 100% online while others continue to provide the course using the hybrid method of delivery. 

  • James Sprunt Community College:  classes start 8/19/2020 and run 14 weeks; 910-275-6200 to register; delivery is 100% online and asynchronous; $180
  • Central Piedmont Community College:  Larry Williams CPA, instructor; classes start 9/8/2020 – 12/8/2020, 704-330-4223 to register for FIN 7900-80; delivery is 100% online and asynchronous; $125
  • Wayne Community College:  instructor and times to be determined; delivery is 100% online
  • Wilkes Community College:  instructor and times to be determined; delivery is 100% online and synchronous
  • Roanoke Chowan Community College:  instructor and times to be determined; 100% online
  • Wilson Community College:  Danna Layne CPA instructor; classes start 9/14/...

*UPDATED* SERCAP Water and Sewer Financial Management Workshops

Friday, July 17, 2020

SERCAP logoThe Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP) is offering two regional workshops about water and sewer finance in July. These are the same workshops we first told you about a few weeks ago, but they’re now being held virtually. The workshops are FREE and will be held on Thursday, July 23, and Thursday, July 30.

If you have already registered for the workshop: SERCAP will be in touch to provide you the link for the class.

If you would like to register for a virtual workshop: Access the registration and agenda for the July 23 virtual course here, and for the July 30 virtual course here.

The workshops start at 9:00 am and end by 4:00 pm. Speakers include representatives from SERCAP, USDA, DEQ, and the LGC.

If you have questions please contact SERCAP at the numbers noted on the registration form, or contact us at (919) 814-4300 or at slgfd@nctreasurer.com.

Preparing for the Expiration of EO 142

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Executive Order 142 (EO 142), which extended Executive Order 124 (EO 124), expires on July 29, 2020. Both orders prohibit local governments and public authorities from terminating for non-payment many of the utility services they provide to residential customers. What happens, then, on July 30? What are local governments and public authorities permitted to do in order to collect the charges for services that have been accruing since the original order went into effect on March 31?

EO 124, as amended by EO 142, requires local governments and public authorities to offer payment plans to all residential customers with balances outstanding as a result of these accrued charges. The order states that the payoff period should be at least six months, with the payoff period calculated beginning when the order expires, so assuming that EO 142 is not extended, and is allowed to expire on its stated expiration of July 29 at 11:59 pm, the plans’ payoff period would begin as of July 30, 2020. Therefore, you should make every effort as soon as possible to develop payment plans to offer to your customers beginning July 30. Beyond that, the orders dictate very little about what these plans should look like...