Strong Town Workshop Session I: The Finance of our Places

APA Arkansas Chapter


Thursday, April 3, 2014
9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. CDT

CM | 1.25

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Overview: Local government decisions are dominated by our desire to experience growth and create jobs, but what if these short term objectives are undermining the long term health of our cities? This session explains how the way we currently build and finance cities provides an “illusion of wealth” but creates enormous long term liabilities. Participants will learn how local governments can make high return investments and update methods for evaluating the financial viability of a project. Topics Covered: How horizontal growth creates an illusion of wealth for local governments, providing nominal, near-term, financial gains in exchange for enormous, long-term financial obligations; How to identify a financially productive place, one that produces more wealth for the community than it requires in services and subsidies; How to calculate the public’s return on investment, the actual dollars that the local government will have returned to it for the dollars that it commits to a project; Developing an understanding of salvage value and how it is properly applied in the context of a local government project; How grants, low interest loans and public/private partnerships impact the long term viability of a project; How to build a strong tax base using an incremental public investment strategy that blends low risk / stable return investments with low risk / high return speculation. Learning Objectives: Be able to identify where the most financially productive places within a community are; Be able to identify whether or not a return-on-investment analysis presents a short term or long term evaluation; Be able to evaluate whether or not a public investment is truly viable over the long term; Understand how small, incremental investments can be used to improve a city’s financial health and resiliency.