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GFOAT President’s Message
January 2023

Happy New Year, GFOAT Members!

Acknowledging that the holidays can be tough for many, I pray that everyone experienced some level of joy during the season.

As we finish up audits from the past year, I encourage you to spend time reflecting on the positive outcomes and look for areas of opportunity to improve going forward.

I’m so happy that our GFOAT Fall Conference was a huge success with a sold-out crowd! Many thanks to our sponsors, Executive Board, Conference Planning Committee, Executive Director Martie Simpson, TML liaisons Lavern Gaines and Tristan Gideon, and members who attended.

The GFOAT Governmental Accounting Academy, held in December 2022, was another success with 63 registrants! I’m pleased to share those participants included city administrators and other department directors wanting to gain a better understanding of what we do as finance officers for our agencies. How great is that? Based on attendee feedback, plans are in the works to expand content beyond building the annual financial report to cover governmental accounting concepts and terminology. This will make the training more useful for new finance officers in need of basic governmental accounting knowledge.

GFOAT’s next professional development offering will be the Budgeting Academy scheduled for February 21 – 22, 2023, at the TML Building in Austin. Register early for an opportunity to experience governmental budget training at its best.

With a goal of continued conference excellence, Kalahari Resort in Round Rock will be the location for the GFOAT Spring Conference, April 17-19, 2023. The planning committee is working diligently to build an agenda power packed with content and presenters who our members can use and enjoy. We look forward to another sell-out attendance.

Starting a new calendar year, I challenge us to set professional and personal goals to learn new things, grow our networks, and to keep living the GFOAT mission of “Promoting Excellence in Government Finance!”

Katina Hampton, MBA, CGFO
President, GFOAT
Director of Administrative Services
City of Friendswood


DEBT RESTRICTION BILL – H.B. 1869 by Representative Dustin Burrows
On Monday, March 22, the House Ways and Means Committee met to hear House Bill 1869 by Representative Dustin Burrows. H.B. 1869 would modify the definition of “debt” for purposes of the debt service property tax rate calculation to only include debt approved at an election. This means that tax-supported debt obligations that are not approved at an election, like certificates of obligation, time warrants, anticipation notes, and certain financing agreements must be paid through the maintenance and operations portion of a city’s tax rate.

The GFOAT Governmental Affairs Committee comprised of Blu Kostelich, Steven Glickman and John Zagurski are meeting with Bill Longley and Monty Wynn with TML bi-weekly to monitor this bill as well as others that would greatly impact Governmental Finance. They will be presenting at the Spring conference and have created the following bullet points to help you understand this bill along with some recommendations. Read More


 

GFOAT Members and Sponsors,

Our world has changed so much in the last 30 days. We have gone from putting the finishing touches on our spring conference and trying to wrap our heads around Senate Bill 2 to social distancing and sheltering in place. We are making decisions daily regarding the safety and security of our citizens and employees while trying to finalize our audits and begin the budget process.

Although our founders in 1933 would never have guessed that we would be faced with a pandemic, I do believe we exist to promote excellence in government finance and to build valuable relationships. Now more than ever, GFOAT is here for you.

The GFOAT Board is meeting virtually on a bi-weekly basis to ensure that the organization continues to move forward. We are working on virtual training opportunities so that members can stay current. Budgeting 101, Governmental Accounting Academy, and Senate Bill 2 trainings are greatly needed among the membership. The Board will discuss the best course of action and timing for these trainings.

Here are some other valuable resources you may find useful:

  1. TML publishes updates on the COVID-19. These updates along with other valuable information can be found at the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources page.
  2. GFOAT will periodically post training opportunities you can access on the remote training tab. GFOA offers several webinars to ensure you get training and the national conference is moving to a virtual platform.
  3. Staff is still working. Please reach out if you need guidance or have questions
  • Martie Simpson GFOAT Executive Director – 254-223-0885
  • Lavern Gaines Affiliate Association Senior Manager, TML – 512-231-7447
  • Tristan Gideon Affiliate Association Assistant Manager (CGFO), TML – 512-231-7453
  • Bill Longley Legislative Counsel, Texas Municipal League

All GFOAT face-to-face meetings have been cancelled until May 11, 2020, pursuant to the CDC recommendations. We will continue to monitor the CDC recommendations as well as the Governor’s executive orders and will update the membership accordingly.

Senate Bill 2 worksheets as well as the notice are not available yet. Here are frequently asked questions from TML on Senate Bill 2 and the effects of the Governor’s disaster declaration on the bill to help in the interim. If you have questions you can reach out to Bill Longley.

Washing our hands after touching almost anything has become our new routine during these times. Some of us have grown so tired of singing “Happy Birthday!” If you’re tired as well, here are some other songs with 20-second choruses you might try:

  • “Take on Me” by A-ha
  • “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
  • “Raspberry Beret” by Prince
  • “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo
  • “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees (like that CPR scene from “The Office”)
  • “Africa” by Toto

Take care of yourselves and your families. We look forward to seeing you all when we are over the hump.

GFOAT President, Board, and Executive Director