COVID-19 fiscal strategy and resource guides

Guides help local governments through the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a dramatic impact on Michigan's local governments, and the fiscal implications — including emergency spending, revenue losses, and budget cuts — are already being felt. Michigan State University Extension has collaborated on a project led by The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, partnering with public finance experts from universities, consulting firms, and research institutions from around the state to produce fiscal strategy memos and guides to assist local governments in navigating the new environment. 

These resources, available at http://closup.umich.edu/COVID-19/, provide up-to-date information and ideas to help local governments strategically navigate the new fiscal landscape.

The first four resource memos cover:

  • Guidance on available funding for local governments, eligible expenses and budget strategies for using federal CARES Act funds;
  • Tips to increase liquidity and strategies for short- and long-term fiscal sustainability;
  • Key considerations, decision-making processes, and proven strategies for managing operating expenses and spending cuts; and
  • The potential effects of the pandemic on property taxes. 

“The guides provide not just up-to-date information but a set of ideas and tools to help local governments strategically navigate the new fiscal landscape,” according to Tom Ivacko, CLOSUP interim director. 

Stephanie Leiser, lead of CLOSUP’s Local Fiscal Health project, says, “This crisis, combined with the ongoing municipal funding challenges in Michigan, will require an even greater effort on behalf of local officials and administrators to quickly assess resources, respond to changing policies and legislation, and develop the tools and insights to maintain sustainable operations and budgets.” 

Partner institutions include Eastern Michigan University, Oakland University, Michigan State University Extension, and its Center for Local Government, Finance, and Policy, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (UM), Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) the Citizens’ Research Council of Michigan, Municipal Analytics, and Guidehouse.  

Advisors include: Michigan Department of Treasury, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Counties

The site is a work in progress, and information will be added on a rolling basis.

The full guide and links to the individual resources are available below:

Fiscal Strategy Memos:

FULL GUIDE

Individual Memos:

CAPITAL SPENDING DURING AN ECONOMIC CRISIS
Eric Walcott, Michigan State University, John Kaczor, Municipal Analytics, and Brad Neumann, Michigan State University (May 2020)

WHAT DOES THE CARES ACT MEAN FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN MICHIGAN?
Samantha Zinnes, Michigan State University (May 2020)

HOW TO ENHANCE LIQUIDITY DURING A CRISIS
Shu Wang and Eric Walcott, Michigan State University (May 2020)

PLANNING FOR REDUCED OPERATING EXPENSES
Eric Walcott and Shu Wang, Michigan State University (May 2020)

WILL PROPERTY TAXES BE IMMUNE TO THE EFFECTS OF COVID-19?
Jill Roof, Citizens Research Council of Michigan (May 2020)

ASSESSING COLLABORATIVE READINESS
Tucker Staley, Eastern Michigan University (May 2020)

SHOULD WE CONTRACT THIS SERVICE OUT?
Tucker Staley, Eastern Michigan University (May 2020)

To contact the project for more information or for interviews, please send an email to localgov-COVID-19@umich.edu, or call 734-647-4091.

Partners:

Partners

This article originally appeared on the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy website on May 11, 2020.

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