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NLC report examines alternative local revenue sources.

A new report from the National League of Cities, "Alternative Revenue Sources for Local Governments," looks at how local governments are refining and broadening traditional tax and user fee revenue sources and creating new revenue streams through the use and sale of government-owned assets. The monograph, the latest in NLC's Issues & Options subscription series, examines the pros and cons of non-traditional revenue sources, provides concrete examples of how local governments are using alternative revenue streams, and highlights how cities and counties are tapping into undervalued community assets to generate income.

Why Alternative Revenue?

In the introduction to the report, Anita White, a vice president with David M. Griffith and Associates, Ltd. of Denver, Colo., argues that there are few truly new revenue sources available to local governments. In White's view, "most revenue alternatives. are actually refinements or special applications of traditional revenue sources.

White points out, however, that there are several compelling reasons why local governments should continue their search for creative financing options in today's "do more with less" environment. First, citizens and businesses are increasingly concerned and vocal about the efficient and effective use of their tax dollars. Second, revenue diversification helps overall revenue balance and irons out disproportionate or inequitable effects caused by over-reliance on one particular revenue source. Third, new revenue helps pay for the ever-growing burden of unfunded federal and state mandates. Finally some alternative revenue sources enable a municipality to export costs outside city limits.

Alternative Revenue

and Public Enterprise

The second section of the report details over 20 different types of revenue sources available to local governments and discusses the pros and cons of these sources. The sources include all types of taxes, fees, and, charges, including administrative fees for enterprise funds, admissions taxes, gaming/gambling, impact fees, and transient or lodgers' taxes.

Public enterprise is high-lighted as another means of creating revenue because it recognizes and maximizes local government assets to produce a positive return on investment. Public Technology, Inc. (PTI), a daughter company of the National League of Cities, has pioneered the development of the public enterprise concept and is implementing it in partnerships with local governments.

The PTI approach involves aggregating technology-based assets under a simple maxim: local governments today may be poor in dollars, but they are rich in assets. Assets by definition have value, and value can be turned into revenue to help governments better serve their constituencies.

Examples of such nontraditional or undervalued assets include information, regulatory powers, staff expertise, wastes, and government memorabilia. Evaluative questionnaires from PTI's member guidebook, The Enterprising Government, are included to help local governments assess their readiness to benefit from the new business opportunities.

Local Government Solutions

"Alternative Revenue Sources for Local Governments" is the most recent publication in NLC's Issues & Options subscription series. Published ten times per year, Issues & Options provides timely and objective information on a key issue confronting local governments in a concise, easy-to-read format. Previous 1993 monographs have discussed unfunded mandates, juvenile crime prevention, geographic information systems, local government employee telecommuting, ethics ordinances and practices, and interlocal revenue sharing.

Annual subscriptions to Issues & Options are available at rates of $149 for NLC members and $198 for all others. New subscribers automatically receive all back issues for the calendar year.

To receive a brochure describing Issues & Options or more information about topics planned for the remainder of 1993, call (202) 626-3181.

pwmed for the remainder of 1993, call (202) 626-3181. N
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities
Author:James, Elizabeth Powell
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 30, 1993
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