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Posted by on in Laws Chat

Another  legislative session has come to an end and with it comes several new laws of interest to municipal finance, municipal court, and City Clerks.  Below is a brief summary from the OML Sine Die Document.  If you need more information, you can access the entire document from the OML website with direct links to each bill.

Finance, Debt and Purchasing:

Public Construction Contracts/Posting Bids: SB 321 by Sen. Marty Quinn (R-Claremore) and Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) amends 61 O.S. Section 104 by altering the notice requirements for proposals to award public construction contracts. The publication time is increased from current law’s at least 20 days to at least “21” days prior to the date set for opening bids. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Public Finance/Cooperative Purchasing Agreement: SB 563 by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom (R-Adair) and Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie) authorizes any school district including a technology school district to participate in, sponsor, or administer a cooperative purchasing agreement for the acquisition of any commodities or services with one or more public agencies. This includes joint or multiparty contracts between public agencies and open-ended state public procurement contracts. Any local public procurement unit may participate in, sponsor, conduct or administer a cooperative or piggybacking purchasing agreement under the details in the bill. A local public procurement unit is any county, city, town, state agency, and any other subdivision of the state or public unit o agency thereof. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Municipal Audit/Small Municipalities: SB 354 by Sen. David Holt (R-OKC) and Rep. Mike Osburn (R-Edmond) amends 11 O.S. Section 17-105 impacting agreed upon procedure engagements in lieu of audits of municipalities with an income of at least $25,000 and a population of less than 2,500. Removed from current law is the requirement for the AUP engagement to be conducted in accordance with “fieldwork and reporting standards in Government Auditing Standards”. The bill takes effect on August 25, 2017.

Public Trust/Audit: SB 358 by Sen. David Holt (R-OKC) and Rep. Mike Osburn (R-Edmond) amends 60 O.S. Section 180.1 regarding agreed upon procedure engagements for trusts with more than $50,000 in revenues or assets, and for whom an annual financial statement audit is not required by another law. Removed from current law is the requirement for the AUP engagement to be conducted in accordance with “field work and reporting standards in Government Auditing Standards.” The bill takes effect on August 25, 2017.

Public Funds/Bonds: HB 1949 by Rep. John Jordan (R-Yukon) and Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) creates new law requiring local governments at least 30 days prior to a vote on a bond or other evidence of indebtedness to publish on their website a description of the projects or assets that will be acquired, improved or repaired together with a description of any unpaid or unfinished bond approved by the voters preceding the date of the vote on the bonds to be issued and a detailed description of the use of the previous bond proceeds. If to acquire or improve real property, the description shall include a physical address using a street number or some other method by which the location of the property can be identified. If the local government does not have a website then the information must be assessable through some other method using the Internet. If there is no reasonable method the entity shall publish at least once in a newspaper of general circulation. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Utility Relocation/Right-of-Way: SB 85 by Sen. Jack Fry (R-Midwest City) and Rep. Dustin Roberts (R-Durant) amends 69 O.S. Section 1205 regarding relocation of utility facilities for construction on the Interstate Highway System within municipalities of 5,000 or more. Federal funds, if available, may be used. In such event the municipality in which such construction is to be performed shall furnish funds to the state necessary to match the federal funds, “unless the utility requiring relocation is owned by another municipality having a population of 5,000 or more, in which case the municipal utility owner shall furnish the funds. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2017.

Public Utility Provider/Domestic Abuse: HB 1466 by Rep. Elise Hall (R-Oklahoma City) and Sen. A J Griffin (R-Guthrie) amends the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act regarding utility providers. To ensure those with a protective order can maintain a household utility account and an existing wireless telephone number the court may issue an order to the providers to transfer billing responsibility to the petitioner if the petitioner is not the account holder. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

City Clerk:

Open Meeting Act/Minutes: HB 2181 by Rep. Charles Ortega (R-Altus) amends 25 O.S. Section 115 requiring municipal clerks and minute clerks of the school board to produce tentative minutes of regular and/or special meetings. The minutes must be furnished “no later than the close of the business day” within “four (4) business” days, “excluding the day of the meeting,” after “the meeting.” Business days shall mean “Monday through Friday and does not include Saturday, Sunday or holidays legally declared by the State of Oklahoma.” Please note, current law allows five (5) days. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Open Records Act/Record Reproduction: SB 191 by Sen. Roger Thompson (R-Okemah) and former Rep. David Brumbaugh amends the Open Records Act by prohibiting a record from being unreasonably relayed until after completion of a prior records request that will take substantially longer than the current request. A delay is limited solely to the time required for preparing the requested documents and the avoidance of excessive disruptions to the public body’s essential functions. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Open Meeting/Public Notice: SB 403 by Sen. David Holt (R-OKC) and Rep. Elise Hall (R-OKC) amends the Open Meeting Act at 25 O.S. Section 311. At least 24 hours prior to the “regularly scheduled” meetings, all public bodies shall display public notice “by at least one of the following methods: posting at the principle office or at the location of the meeting if no office exists; on the public body’s Internet website in accordance with 74 O.S. Section 3102. In addition, the public body “shall offer and consistently maintain an email distribution system for distribution of such notice and any person may request to be included without charge, and their request shall be accepted. In lieu of these posting requirements, a public body may elect to follow the requirements found in subparagraph b of paragraph 9 of this subsection, provided that 48 hour notice is required for special meetings and that the 48 hour requirement shall exclude Saturdays, Sundays and holidays legally declared by the State. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Insurance/Surplus Lines Tax: SB 438 by Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman) and Rep. Glen Mulready (R-Tulsa) amends 36 O.S. Section 1115 by providing the policies sold to any city or town in this state, incorporated pursuant to law, shall be exempt from the surplus lines premium tax. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Municipal Court:

Municipal Court/Domestic Violence: HB 1121 by Rep. Ryan Martinez (R-Edmond) and Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-OKC) creates the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Court Act of 2017. Subject to the availability of funds, any district or municipal court of record may establish a domestic violence court program as a specialized judicial process for domestic matters both civil and criminal under the bills requirements. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Municipal Court/Forensic Science Improvement Revolving Fund: SB 38 by Sen. Roger Thompson (R-Okemah) and Rep. Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston) amends 20 O.S. Section 1313.4 to increase the Forensic Science Improvement Assessment from $5 to $10 per applicable offense. This fee is collected by municipal court clerks. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Human Resources:

Employment/Unemployment: HB 1110 by Rep. Randy McDaniel (R-Edmond) and Sen. Dan Newberry (R-Tulsa) amends the Employment Security Act of 1980 in a number of ways including changing the definition of “experience period”, “computation of benefit amount”, and alterations to the benefits for employees of governmental or nonprofit employers, changes to professional employer organizations and the like. In addition, new law provides for a rate reduction for technology reinvestment apportionment, the creation of a technology fund and provisions for administration of the technology fund. The bill repeals 40 O.S. Section 3-809 regarding group accounts for two or more employers. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2017.

Workers’ Compensation: HB 2423 by Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang) and Sen. Kimberly David (R-Porter) amends 40 O.S. Section 418 regarding each insurance carrier writing workers’ compensation insurance and each self-insured employer authorized to make workers’ compensation payments directly to employees. These entities shall pay to the OTC up to a sum equal to three-fourths of one percent (3/4 of 1%) of the total workers’ compensation losses, excluding medical payments and temporary total disability compensation, based on the records of the Workers’ Compensation Court of “Existing Claims or the Workers’ Compensation Commission.” The bill adds this payout is based on the proceeds being reasonable and necessary to accomplish the objectives of the Oklahoma Occupational Health and Safety Standards Act. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2017.

 

Sales Tax Changes:

Sales Tax/Veterans: HB 1198 by Rep. Tommy Hardin (R-Madill) and Sen. Frank Simpson (RArdmore) amends the veteran’s sales tax exemption by adding the requirement that the veteran is registered with the new veterans registry created by the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. An exception is made for those veterans who have previously received the sales tax exemption. Section 1 of the bill takes effect on November 1, 2017. Sections 2 through 12 will take effect on November 1, 2020.

Sales Tax/Remote Sales: HB 1427 by Rep. Kyle Hilbert (R-Depew) and Sen. James Leewright (R-Bristow) creates the Out-of-State Tax Collections Enforcement Act of 2017. It states the Tax Commission may establish the Out-of-State Tax Collections Enforcement Division. The Commission may contract with or employ out-of-state auditors. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Sales Tax/Noncompliance Procedures: HB 2343 by Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang) and Sen. Kimberly David (R-Porter) amends 68 O.S. Section 1268.3 (A) regarding noncompliant taxpayer “operating under a sales tax permit” who within any consecutive 24 month period, has failed to file two reports or remit tax due for any two (2) months, as required under the provisions of any tax law. The taxpayer shall not be deemed noncompliant for nonpayment of income taxes. Paragraph (B) is amended by broadening current law to include the “provisions of any tax law”. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2017.

Sales Tax/ Vendor Deductions: HB 2367 by Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang) and Sen. Kimberly David (R-Porter) repeals 68 O.S. Section 1367.1 and 1410.1 removing current deductions from sales and use tax collections respectively. The deduction from taxes due is 1% of tax due (with maximums) for vendors keeping records, filing reports and remitting taxes when due. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2017.

Agriculture Fees/Municipal Exemption Removal: HB 2392 by Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang) and Sen. Kimberly David (R-Porter) amends 2 O.S. Section 3-82 regarding license/certification fees for pesticide applications. The measure removes the fee exemption for governmental agencies and increases the annual registration fee from $160 to $210. The bill increases the maximum amount designated for the State Department of Agriculture Unwanted Pesticide Disposal Fund from $100,000 to $300,000. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2017.

Motor Vehicles/Sales Tax: HB 2433 by Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang) and Sen. Kimberly David (R-Porter) amends various sections of law to enact what appears to be a sales/use tax of 1.25% on the sale of motor vehicles. This is done by amending exceptions in current law. The wording is awkward. Specifically stated: “the sale of motor vehicles shall not be subject to any sales and use taxes levied by cities, counties or other jurisdictions of the state”. Amended is: 68 O.S. Sections 1355, 2106, 1361, 1402 & 1404. The bill went into effect on May 31, 2017.

 

 

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Posted by on in Accounting Chat

A “lot of water has gone under the bridge”, so to speak, since we last talked about GASB pronouncements.  In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Thunder fan.  And my last blog post is dated May 13, 2016.  At that time, we had just won the Western Conference semi-finals and were getting ready to face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.  And we all know what happened in the infamous Game 6 of that series.  Even though we were up 3-1 in the series and led most of Game 6, we lost not only that game, but the next one as well.  And then the most awful July 4th when the unthinkable happened—Kevin Durant leaves the Thunder to go play with the enemy.  Yep, our beloved KD is playing with the Golden State Warriors who are now up 3-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.  You can guess who I’m rooting for.

Anyway, I say all that to say, there’s been a lot of activity for GASB since that time as well.  So let’s get caught up.  We have four additional standards to implement in the near future.

Statement No. 83, Certain Asset Retirement Obligations – Some of you (like me) may be asking:  “What’s an Asset Retirement Obligation (ARO)?”  While it’s not anticipated that this will have a significant impact on most governments, we still need to be aware of what it pertains to, in case something like this ever comes up in your government or governmental client. 

There are GASB standards already in existence that address some types of AROs.  For example, Statement No. 18 related to accounting for landfill closure and postclosure care costs.  That’s a form of ARO.  Also Statement No. 49 that addresses pollution remediation activities also relates to ARO. 

But this standard addresses different kinds of AROs.  Here are some examples:  1) retirement of sewage treatment plants; 2) retirement of x-ray machines; 3) retirement of magnetic resonance imaging machines; 4) retirement of research facilities owned by public universities like nuclear research reactors.  These kinds of assets may have to be disposed in a certain way due to radioactive material or waste generated by equipment regulated by federal, state or local laws and regulations.  So while these transactions may not occur very frequently or at several governments, be aware there is now a standard that addresses accounting for these types of liabilities when they occur.

The technical definition of an ARO is:   “a legally enforceable liability associated with the retirement of a tangible capital asset”.  If your government has a legal obligation to perform future asset retirement activities related to a tangible capital asset, it should recognize a liability based on the guidance in this statement.

This statement must be implemented for periods beginning after June 15, 2018.  If you have a June 30 year end, that would be effective as of June 30, 2019.

Statement No. 84, Fiduciary ActivitiesThis new standard, unlike the previous one, will likely affect many governments.  That’s probably the reason for the extended required implementation date.  To allow governments plenty of time to identify and classify their fiduciary activities, the board permits governments to wait until periods beginning after December 15, 2018, to implement this standard.  For June 30 year ends, that would be effective June 30, 2020.

So here are the highlights of this standard:

  1. Criteria is established for identifying fiduciary activities of governments.
    1. Focus is on whether a government is controlling the assets of the fiduciary activity, AND
    2. The beneficiaries with whom a fiduciary relationship exists
  2. There are now additional considerations for classification as a component unit for fiduciary activities that are postemployment benefits—whether that be pension or OPEB.
  3. There are also criteria to be used to classify non-postemployment benefit component units as a fiduciary activity.
  4. If an activity is classified as fiduciary, then it should be reported in a fiduciary fund in the basic financial statements.
    1. A statement of fiduciary net position should be prepared AND
    2. A statement of changes in fiduciary net position should be prepared (for ALL fiduciary funds). You’ll recall under current standards, an agency fund is not required to present a statement of changes in fiduciary net position.
    3. There are 4 types of fiduciary funds
      1. Pension and OPEB trust funds
      2. Investment trust funds
  • Private-purpose trust funds, AND
  1. Custodial funds (no longer will there be agency funds) Basically this category should be used to report fiduciary activities that are not held in a trust or equivalent arrangement that meets specific criteria
  1. For fiduciary component units reported in the fiduciary fund financial statements of a primary government, it should combine its information with its component units that are also fiduciary component units and aggregate that combined information with the primary government’s fiduciary funds.
  2. Also provides for the recognition of a liability to beneficiaries and details when that liability should be recognized.

 

Statement No. 85, Omnibus 2017And no, we’re not talking about a bus that takes you to the Omniplex (grin).  We’re talking about a collection of practice issues that are clarified or corrected from previous statements.  So this one covers a myriad of topics.  And some of these may have already been implemented by some governments.  Here’s the list.  It’s rather long.

  1. Blending a component unit in circumstances in which the primary government is a business-type activity that reports in a single column for financial statement presentation
  2. Reporting amounts previously reported as goodwill and “negative” goodwill.
  3. Classifying real estate held by insurance entities.
  4. Measuring certain money market investments and participating inter-earning investment contracts at amortized cost
  5. Timing of the measurement of pension or OPEB liabilities and expenditures recognized in financial statements prepared using the current financial resources measurement focus
  6. Recognizing on-behalf payments for pensions or OPEB in employer financial statements
  7. Presenting payroll-related measures in required supplementary information for purposes of reporting by OPEB plans and employers that provide OPEB
  8. Classifying employer-paid member contributions for OPEB
  9. Simplifying certain aspects of the alternative measurement method for OPEB
  10. And finally, (whew!), accounting and financial reporting for OPEB provided through certain multiple-employer defined benefit OPEB plans

So if any of these items apply to your government, read more in Statement 85.  This one is effective for reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2017.  That’s June 30, 2018 for June 30 fiscal year ends.  But as previously mentioned, some of these have already been implemented.   And that’s okay because earlier application is encouraged.

 

Statement No. 86, Certain Debt Extinguishment IssuesIf you’re one of those lucky governments that has cash available to pay off existing indebtedness and you place that cash in an irrevocable trust to extinguish that debt, then this statement is for you.  Current guidance for in substance defeasance of debt only applies when using refunding debt proceeds to defease the debt.  Now we have similar guidance in Statement 86 for defeasing debt with existing resources.  One big difference, though, is that in financial statements using the economic resources measurement focus, governments should recognize any difference between the reacquisition price (the amount required to be placed in the trust) and the net carrying amount of the debt defeased in substance using only existing resources as a gain or loss in the period of the defeasance.  This is recognized immediately and not amortized over a longer period.  There are also provisions for note disclosures related to these types of debt defeasance.

And there’s more in this statement that applies to all debt extinguishments, whether through a legal extinguishment or through an in-substance defeasance.  If you have any remaining prepaid insurance related to these extinguished debt, that should be included in the net carrying amount of debt for purpose of calculating the difference between the reacquisition price and the net carrying amount of the debt.

Another additional disclosure is required for all in-substance defeasance transactions.  One of the criteria for determining an in-substance defeasance is that the trust hold only monetary assets that are essentially risk-free.  If the substitution of essentially risk-free monetary assets with monetary assets that are not essentially risk-free is not prohibited, governments should disclose that fact in the period in which the debt is defeased in substance.  In subsequent periods, governments should disclose the amount of debt defeased in substance that remains outstanding for which that risk of substitution exists.

This Statement is effective for periods beginning after June 15, 2017.  That’s June 30, 2018 for those June 30 fiscal year ends.

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Crawford & Associates was blessed with the opportunity to once again return to lovely San Juan, Puerto Rico and conduct the 2017 Crawford Government Learning Program, co-sponsored by the Puerto Rico Society of CPAs and the local firm of CPA Diaz Martinez. This two-day conference was filled with a variety of state and local government accounting and auditing training sessions in addition to an interactive session on Professional Ethics and Moral Behavior. Speaking at the conference this year were Frank Crawford, Mike Crawford, Marcy Twyman, Brenda Wright and Chris Pembrook. The Crawford & Associates gang were also treated to an evening reception with the group to enjoy drinks and island goodies on the terrace of the Sheraton Old San Juan. Our thanks go out to our great friends at CPA Diaz Martinez, especially Soane for all her help, and to the CPA Society for hosting us once again! It also didn't hurt that the rest of the Crawford & Associates work family joined us after the conference for a week-long cruise of the Southern Caribbean leaving out of San Juan!

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On October 21, 2016, the Crawford & Associates staff participated in the Oklahoma Society of CPA's annual Day of Service - an annual statewide outreach event where CPA's around the state take some time off to volunteer for a variety of worthy causes. This year, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to assist in the event set up for the 2016 Project31 - Breast Cancer Survivor Gala held in Oklahoma City. Project31 was created by two-time breast cancer survivor Sarah McLean to help women and their families work through the emotional scars left behind by breast cancer. Participating in the volunteer effort from the firm and pictured above with Sarah from left to right were Justin Kersey, Candy Dow, Mike Crawford, Andrea Depee, Debbie Crawford (a breast cancer survivor), Andres Nunez, and Marcy Twyman. Thanks to the OSCPA, Sarah and Project31, and the Crawford & Associates staff who were part of this rewarding endeavor.

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In September 2016, Crawford & Associates' retired Chairman, Mike Crawford was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for City and Town Officials in recognition of his contributions to the betterment of municipal government in the State of Oklahoma. The Hall of Fame was formed in 1999 to recognize individuals for outstanding achievements and contributions to Oklahoma local government. To be selected, an honoree must make significant contributions to cities and towns, through their positive spirit of public service, with unquestioned ethics. Mike was honored for having been instrumental in the development and passage of many of the state laws applicable to Oklahoma municipalities, including the Municipal Budget Act, and for his long-term efforts to educate and train city and town clerks, treasurers and financial officials. He is the first CPA to be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for City and Town Officials. Click here to see the Induction Ceremony booklet reference to Mike.

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On July 7, 2016, the USA Today published an article entitled Puerto Rico Debt Crisis is a Lesson for Guam. One of the sources of information used in the article was Crawford & Associates Performeter® financial analysis tool. Each year, the firm prepares a Performeter® analysis on the financial health and performance of the various nations and territories that comprised the former trust territories of the US. This financial analysis by the firm is used by the US Department of Interior to assist them in monitoring the financial management of these nations and territories. We are proud to be a part of the financial management process of these entities and also proud to see The Performeter® being effectively used in the process.

In August 2016, Performeter® results were also the basis for two news articles in Saipan and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands regarding the financial health and performance of the CNMI government. Click here to see these articles.

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Posted by on in Laws Chat

 

The Second Session of the 55th legislature recently came to a close bringing several new laws of interest to municipal finance.   Below is a brief summary from the OML Sine Die of the laws.

Unemployment Benefits: HB 2253 makes a number of changes to the Employment Security Act including definitions of “wages”, “taxable wages”, “assigned tax rate” and “earned tax rate”. In addition, changes include appeal rules, benefit overpayments, benefit wage ratio, rate reduction for technology reinvestment apportionment, rate of employer unemployment tax and the like. In addition, the bill creates the OESC Technology Fund which from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2021 shall be funded by each employer subject to 40 O.S. Sections 3-109, 2-110.1 and 3-113 equal to five percent of the unemployment taxes that would be owed to the OESC before any rate reduction is made pursuant to Section 9 of this Act. This apportionment shall be in addition to any contribution which that employer is required to make pursuant to the employment Security Act of 1980. The bill also contains a repealer section. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2016.

Cable Television/Municipal Authority: HB 2358 amends 11 O.S. Section 22-107.1 and 107.2 regarding municipal authority concerning ordinances, certificates, licenses, permits or franchises for cable television. Among the changes in this detailed bill: “video services is substituted for “cable television”, rental payment for use of the public ways and grounds within the municipality shall not exceed 5% of the annual gross revenues derived by the video services provider from the provision of video services within the municipality, provision is made for ordinances regulating video services pursuant to the police power. The bill defines “video services”. The bill went into effect on April 12, 2016.

Open Records/Social Security Numbers: HB amends the Open Records Act 51 O.S. Section 24A.5. It provides that all social security numbers included in a record "may" be confidential regardless of the person's status as a public employee or private individual and "may" be redacted or deleted prior to release of the record by the public body. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2016.

Employment/Disability Insurance: HB 2785 amends 74 O.S. Section 1335 to authorize a city to participate in the Disability Insurance Program administered by the Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board. A city, upon adoption of a resolution by the municipal governing body, may participate in the Disability Insurance Program administered by the Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board. Upon the filing of a certified copy of the resolution with the Board, the city shall become a participant on the first day of the second full month following the filing of the resolution. All employees of any city electing to participate in the Program shall have disability insurance coverage. The city shall forward to the Board, at such times as determined by the Board, the contributions necessary to pay for the disability insurance coverage of the employees of the city. The Board shall determine the amount of contribution required for the disability insurance coverage. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2016.

9-1-1 Reform: HB 3126 creates the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority Act with rule making authority given to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. The bill specifies the Authority’s organization, duties and limitations. A monthly fee of 75 cents is created on each wireless telephone connection and other communication device or service connection with the ability to dial 9-1-1 for emergency calls, services that are enabled by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Internet Protocol (IP) and prepaid wireless retail transactions. Funds shall be used by public agencies only for services, equipment and operations related to 9-1-1 emergency telephone systems. The definition of “public agency” is expanded to also include “public district, public trust, sub-state planning district, public authority or tribal authority located within this state”. It repeals 63 O.S. Sections 2821, 2841, 2842, 2843, 2843.1, 2843.2, 2844, 2847, 2851, 2852 and 2853. Sections 1 through 13 take effect on November 1, 2016. Section 14 repealing numerous sections takes into effect on January 1, 2017.

Municipal Courts/DUI: HB 3146 is a detailed bill creating the Impaired Driving Elimination Act (IDEA) impacting municipal courts not of record. It preempts municipal ordinances relating to DUI or operating a motor vehicle while impaired. The preemption will not apply to municipal criminal courts of record for these offenses. A new $15 fee is assessed for the Oklahoma Impaired Driver Database Revolving Fund via amendments to 11 O.S. Section 14-111 and 28 O.S. Section 153. In addition, 28 O.S. Section 153.1 is amended to decrease from one-half to 25% the costs paid in these cases to municipalities with 25% also paid to the DA’s Council. New law is created to require municipal law enforcement officers who make an arrest to enter an impaired driver arrest report into the impaired driver database. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2016.

Unemployment Benefits/Seasonal Workers: HB 3164 creates new law regarding unemployment benefits by a seasonal worker performed in seasonal employment. Benefits are payable only for weeks of unemployment that occur during the normal seasonal work period. Benefits shall not be paid based on services performed in seasonal employment for any week of unemployment that begins during the period between two (2) successive normal seasonal work periods under certain conditions. The bill contains details including the application procedure to be designated a seasonal employer, notice requirements and definitions. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2016.

Sales & Use Tax/Refund Claims: HB 3205 amends 68 O.S. Section 227 by authorizing a taxpayer to claim a refund for erroneously paid sales tax and use tax “within two (2) years from the date of payment”. The Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) may accept an amended sale or use tax report or return as a verified claim for refund if they established a liability less than the original report or return previously filed. The bill takes effect on August 25, 2016.

Bidding/Public Trusts/Emergency: SB 154 amends 60 O.S. Section 176 by increasing the bidding requirement for an emergency from $50,000 to $75,000. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 6, 2016. Since the emergency clause failed in the House, the bill will go into effect August 25, 2016.

Municipal Audits/Income: SB 888 amends the municipal audit requirements of 11 O.S. Section 17-105. Municipal income shall not include any grant monies provided to a municipality from any federal, state or other governmental entity. The bill takes effect August 25, 2016.

Public Trust/Indebtedness: SB 1011 amends 60 O.S. Sections 176. A municipality with a governing body consisting of fewer than 7 members shall be required to approve the creation of an indebtedness or obligation by a three-fifths (3/5) vote of the governing body. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2016.

Water/Delinquent Account: SB 1029 creates new law regarding termination for a delinquent account where water service is provided to real property by one public entity but that property receives sewer or waste water service from another public entity. Under conditions in the bill, the governing body providing sewer or wastewater service may request the public entity providing water service to terminate water service. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2016.

 

Public Finance/City Manager: SB 1102 amends 11 O.S. Section 8-116 impacting a municipality with a population of less than 5,000 who employs a part-time city manager or a part-time city planner. 26 © 2016 Oklahoma Municipal League, Inc. The financial assistance via the Department of Commerce in current law is removed. The bill takes effect August 25, 2016.

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Posted by on in Accounting Chat

Well, the GASB has been busy at work since the last blog.  And so have I.  Here’s a summary of the new standards, listed by date of required implementation.  And early implementation is encouraged for these new standards.  So you don’t have to wait to implement these, for those eager beavers out there.

For periods beginning after June 15, 2015:

                GASB Statement No. 79, Certain External Investment Pools and Pool Participants – This is one standard that has multiple implementation dates.  Certain sections (paragraphs 18, 19, 23-26, and 40) have a later implementation date for periods beginning after December 15, 2016.  This standard establishes criteria for an external investment pool to qualify to making the election to measure all of its investments at amortized cost for financial reporting purposes.  Certain criteria have to be met in order to qualify for this type of reporting.  The criteria addresses 1) how the external investment pool transacts with participants; 2) requirements for portfolio maturity, quality, diversification, and liquidity, and 3) calculation and requirements of a shadow price.

                And if an external investment pool meets the criteria in this Statement and measure all its investments at amortized cost for financial reporting purposes, the pool’s participants should also measure their investments in that external investment pool at amortized cost for financial reporting purposes.

 

For periods beginning after December 15, 2016:

                GASB Statement No. 77, Tax Abatement Disclosures – Many governments offer tax abatements, particularly to encourage economic development.  When a government has an agreement between itself and an individual or entity where the government agrees to forgo tax revenues and the individual or entity promises to subsequently take specific action that contributes to economic development or otherwise benefits the government or its citizens, there will now be certain disclosure requirements to tell about these tax abatements.  This is one standard that doesn’t require additional accounting –only disclosures.

                GASB Statement No. 78, Pensions Provided through Certain Multiple-Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans – This statement limits the scope and applicability of Statement 68.  This standard will apply in a case where pensions are provided to employees of state or local governmental employers in a cost-sharing multiple-employer defined benefit pension plan that meets these 3 points:

1.        Not a state or local governmental pension plan;

2.       Provides defined benefit pensions both to employees of state or local governmental employers AND to employees of employers that are NOT state or local governmental employers, AND

3.       Has no predominant state or local governmental employer (either individually or collectively with other state or local governmental employers that provide pensions through the pension plan)

For periods beginning after June 15, 2016:

                GASB Statement No. 80, Blending Requirements for Certain Component Units—An Amendment of GASB Statement No. 14 – This Statement amends Statement No. 14, The Financial Reporting Entity, as amended, to require blending of a component unit incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in which the primary government is the sole corporate member.  However, the additional criterion does not apply to component units included in the financial reporting entity pursuant to the provisions of Statement No. 39, Determining Whether Certain Organizations Are Component Units.

                GASB Statement No. 82, Pension Issues—an amendment of GASB Statements No. 67, No. 68, and No. 73 – You may wonder what happened to Standard No. 81.  Did they void one?  No, the implementation date is just later, perhaps because additional time is needed to implement that one.  Also, this statement is another one with multiple implementation dates.  All but paragraph 7 are required to be implemented for periods beginning after June 15, 2016. 

Paragraph 7 requirements are effective for the employer in the first reporting period in which the measurement date of the pension liability is on or after June 15, 2017.  Paragraph 7 relates to the selection of assumptions.

But this standard was written to address certain items in the new pension standards that needed “tweaking”.  The “tweaked” items relate to:

1)      Presentation of payroll-related measures in required supplementary information--In Statements 67 and 68, it required presentation of covered-employee payroll, which was the gross payroll of employees provided with pensions.  This Statement amends that to define covered payroll as the payroll on which contributions to the pension plan are based, and applies that to ratios that use that measure.

2)      Selection of assumptions and treatment of deviations from guidance in an Actuarial Standard of Practice for financial reporting purposes – the statement clarifies that a deviation (as that term is defined in Actuarial Standards of Practice issued by the Actuarial Standards Board), from the guidance in an ASOP is not considered to be in conformity with the requirements of Statement 67, Statement 68, or Statement 73 for the selection of assumptions used in determining the total pension liability and related measures.

3)      Classification of payments made by employers to satisfy employee (plan member) contribution requirements – Clarification was made to note that payments made by an employer to satisfy contribution requirements identified as plan member contribution requirements should be classified as plan member contributions for purposes of Statement 67 and as employee contributinos for purposes of Statement 68.  It also requires that an employer’s expense and expenditures for those amounts be recognized in the period for which the contribution is assessed and classified in the same manner as the employer classifies similar compensation other than pensions (for example, as salaries and wages or as fringe benefits).

For periods beginning after December 15, 2016:

                GASB Statement No. 81, Irrevocable Split-Interest Agreements – Split-interest agreements are a type of giving agreement used by donors to provide resources to two or more beneficiaries, including governments.  In these types of agreements, a donor transfers resources to an intermediary to hold and administer for the benefit of a government and at least one other beneficiary.  Examples include charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and life-interests in real estate.

                The Statement requires that a government that receives resources pursuant to an irrevocable split-interest agreement recognize assets, liabilities, and deferred inflows of resources at the inception of the agreement.  It also requires that a government recognize assets representing its beneficial interests in irrevocable split-interest agreements that are administered by a third party, if the government controls the present service capacity of the beneficial interests.  The government would recognize revenue when the resources become applicable to the reporting period.

 

Until next time….Thunder Up!

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The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has released the latest edition of the Practice Aid Applying Special Purpose Frameworks in State and Local Governmental Financial Statements authored by firm Chairman Mike Crawford. Mike authored the original Practice Aid (formerly titled Applying OCBOA in State and Local Governmental Financial Statements) in 2003 and updated the Aid in 2012 and now again in 2015. The Practice Aid provides accounting, financial statement preparation and auditor reporting guidance for governmental entities electing or required to apply a special purpose framework, such as cash basis, modified cash basis or regulatory basis of accounting in the preparation of their financial statements.

The 2015 edition of the Practice Aid is available for purchase from the AICPA Store.  

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Posted by on in Crawford Chat

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The Crawford & Associates staff were pleased to participate in the OSCPA 2015 CPA Day of Service this past October. While our involvement was not as we had planned, we were nonetheless pleased to be able to contribute to this statewide effort. Our staff was scheduled to work on the designated day of service at the OKC Regional Food Bank similar to last year where we would help prepare meals; however, we were contacted the day previous to our scheduled work day and informed the Food Bank had to unexpectedly close that day. That did not deter us though from getting involved in another way. We went out and purchased over 60 pounds of cereal and then dropped the boxes by the Food Bank. Thanks to the OSCPA for coordinating this annual event and giving statewide CPAs the opportunity to get involved in community service statewide.

(Pictured above from left to right: Dwayne Tate, Tammy Hunt, Mike Crawford, and Chris Pembrook) 

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Posted by on in Laws Chat

The 2015 Legislative session ended a few months ago and with it brings a few changes related to municipal finance.   Below is a brief summary from the OML Sine Die of those laws.

 

HB 1376 limits the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System exception section requiring a defined contribution system for those hired on or after November 1, 2015. This amendment to the exception in 74 O.S. Section 935.2, which includes municipal employees, limits participation in the defined benefit plan “only as long as he or she continues to be employed in a position” described in the exception. In addition, the employee and employer contributions are changed. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2015.

 

HB 1734 requires any person, firm or entity required to pay a tax, fine or other cost to the state or a local government to make the instrument payable to the state office of government and not an individual who holds public office. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2015.

 

HB 1825 modifies the list of governmental entities that may file certain claims to collect delinquent balances to include as qualified entities such as state agencies, municipal courts, district courts, public housing authorities and district attorneys seeking to collect unpaid court-ordered monetary obligations. It also repeals Title 68, Section 205.2, which is similar language in this same section. The bill went into effect on May 8, 2015.

 

HB 1965 creates the Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act. The bill bans the use of hand-held electronic devices to “manually compose, send or read an electronic text message” while operating a motor vehicle. The bill makes it a primary offense to text while driving. The bill levies a $100 fine and prohibits the Department of Public Safety from recording or assessing points on any license. It also makes exceptions for a device that is physically or electronically integrated into a motor vehicle, or a voice-operated global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to a motor vehicle, or a hands-free device that allows the user to write, send, or read a text message without the use of either hand except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function. Municipalities may enact and municipal police officers may enforce ordinances prohibiting and penalizing texting while driving. The ordinances shall not be more stringent and the fine and court costs for municipal ordinance violations shall be the same or less than the $100 fine. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2015.

 

HB 2005 amends the Firefighter Pension System regarding volunteers. It states a person 45 years old or older, as of the first date volunteer services are performed, shall not be eligible for the Pension System for any purpose and shall not receive any benefit or service credit. The Fire Chief shall make the final determination on applicants for volunteer firefighter services if the applicant is over age 45 based on local rules, ordinances and standard operating procedures. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2015.

 

HB 2119 permits the Division or awarding public agency to extend a contract award period no more than 120 days from the bid opening date upon the mutual written agreement between the lowest responsible bidder or bidders and the awarding public agency. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2015.

 

SSB 297 creates the Heritage Preservation Act creating a grant program for financial assistance to cities, counties, nonprofit 21 © 2015 Oklahoma Municipal League, Inc. organizations and tribal governments to operate and improve effectiveness of museums and historical organizations. The bill takes effect on August 20, 2015.

 

SB 327 repeals a number of sections in Title 8 regarding cemeteries, including cemeteries in towns, cemetery associations, cemetery funds and county cemetery associations. Of particular importance is the repeal of 8 O.S. Sections 81-87, 90, 91, 94, 111-115 and 131-141, which is language related to deposit of funds and County Cemetery Associations except references to invalidity clause and acceptance and use of monies and other items. In addition, any county of this state may use its employees and equipment for opening and closing graves and maintaining and improving any publicly owned or other cemetery within the county not owned and maintained by an individual or private organization. A reasonable fee may be charged. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2015.

 

SB 336 creates a sales tax exemption for organizations exempt from taxation via Section 501(c)(3) related to a fundraising event sponsored by the organization or entity when the event does not exceed any five (5) consecutive days and when the sales are not in the organization’s or the entity’s regular course of business. Provided, the exemption provided in this paragraph shall be limited to tickets sold for admittance to the fundraising event and items which were donated to the organization or entity for sale at the event. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2015.

 

SB 376 allows a municipality or a public trust with a municipality as its beneficiary to charge a convenience fee. The convenience fee shall be limited to bank processing fees and financial transaction fees, the cost of providing for secure transaction, portal fees, and fees necessary to compensate for increased bandwidth incurred as a result of providing for an online transaction. The bill also applies to the Uniform Consumer Credit Code. The bill takes effect on November 1, 2015.

 

 

Municipal Finance in Oklahoma is constantly changing, make sure your check the blog frequently for updates on Oklahoma Statute changes and the latest from GASB.  

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Posted by on in Crawford Chat

Firm Chairman, Mike Crawford has just established a new web site at www.livingalifeworthliving.com whose mission is to educate and encourage individuals in living a life worth living through consistent application of a core set of moral principles. This web site is a natural follow up to his long-standing ethics presentation of the same title that has been in high demand and well received over the past ten years. The site contains a number of helpful educational resources and shares inspirational stories and quotes to encourage moral behavior in everyday life.

The site also introduces the Others B4 Self recognition program designed to formally recognize and applaud individuals who have shown random acts of kindness or consistently demonstrated compassion by putting the interest and welfare of others ahead of their own. Nominated individuals receive an Others B4 Self silicon bracelet and a special thank you card from the program as a token of appreciation. CLICK HERE to participate in this inspirational initiative by nominating a deserving individual.

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Check out the new web site, share inspirational stories and get involved with the Others B4 Self program. 

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Posted by on in Accounting Chat

It’s that time of year when many people take vacations.  Mine is next week as a matter of fact.  But there’s no vacation for the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.  They are still hard at work.  Another accounting standard was approved in June that simplifies the “ladder of importance” of GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) for governments.  GASB Statement No. 76 – The Hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for State and Local Governments basically reduces the categories of authoritative GAAP from four down to two.  Those two categories are:  1)  GASB Statements and 2) GASB Technical Bulletins, GASB Implementation Guides, and AICPA guidance that is cleared by GASB.  Also, Statement No. 76 discusses what to do when a particular issue is not covered by those two categories of authoritative GAAP.  You can download this standard, as well as the other standards adopted in June, on GASB’s website:  www.gasb.org.  I already have my copy.  Be back in a week to read it—after vacation, of course.    

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The draft of the 2015 compliance supplement has been has been provided for the use of audit planning purposes with the final issuance expected late June 2015. Within the draft there are some interesting changes to make note of for both auditors and auditees.  These changes include reduction of the number of compliance supplements and potential issues regarding internal control evaluation.

With regards to the compliance requirements, this draft document has removed both Davis Bacon and Real Property Acquisition and Relocation Assistance.  The draft compliance matrix has replaced these requirements with reserved.  This leaves the opportunity for future requirements or modifications to the requirements removed to possibly be added in the future.  Another note is that “Period of Availability" has been renamed as "Period of Performance".

 

Another interesting note for both auditors and auditees is that language previously used in Part 6 "Internal Control" has been removed.  This is due to limited time for OMB to update Part 6 to reflect updates that have occurred to COSO's updated "Internal Control Framework" and GAO's “Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government” (Green Book).  This is an area that auditees should be cognizant of as both of these documents have been referenced in the Uniform Guidance, specifically  2 CFR 200.303, as best practice documents for non-federal entity's internal control framework and are the specifically referenced in this draft of the compliance supplement. 

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Crawford & Associates President Frank Crawford is slated to be one of the featured speakers at this year's AICPA Governmental Accounting and Auditing Update Conference. As is the case each year this popular AICPA conference will be held in two locations: East - August 10-11 in Washington, DC, and West - September 29-30 in San Diego, CA. The conference theme this year is Building Confidence - Taking on Important Governmental Accounting, Auditing and Regulatory Developments. Those interested in attending the conference may obtain more detailed information and register at the AICPA web site - www.aicpa.org.

 

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(Pictured: Left: representatives from Crawford & Associates, Cotton & Company, and CPA Diaz-Martinez. Pictured Right: CPA Soane Diaz-Burgos - Conference Host; CPA Frank Crawford - President of Crawford & Associates; and CPA Kermit Lucena - President of the Puerto Rico Society of CPAs)

The first annual Crawford & Associates Government Learning Program was held on May 28-29, 2015 at the San Juan Marriott and Stelaris Casino in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. The two-day governmental accounting and auditing conference, a joint venture between Crawford & Associates and the Puerto Rico Society of CPAs, was a great success and attended by approximately 100 CPAs and others interested in governmental affairs related to accounting, auditing, financial reporting and fraud prevention and detection. Presenters included David Cotton of Cotton & Company, and from Crawford & Associates - Mike Crawford, Frank Crawford, Marcy Twyman, Brenda Wright, Dwayne Tate, Chris Pembrook and Justin Kersey.

"The Puerto Rico Association of CPAs, as part of its commitment to the economic welfare of our country, has spared no resources in their selection of topics for these seminars on government affairs, bringing a group with unquestionable expertise. As professionals with an interest in quality and ethics, we wish to provide guidance to our colleagues and the community, equipping them for performance with the highest standards," said CPA Kermit Lucena, President of the Puerto Rico CPA Society.

 

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Posted by on in Accounting Chat

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued three new statements that will improve accounting and financial reporting for postemployment benefits other than pensions (OPEB), mainly retiree health insurance, and pension plans outside the scope of GASB 67 and 68.  That brings the total statements issued by GASB up to 75.  The specific titles and effective dates of these new statements are:

 

                GASB Statement No. 73, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions and Related Assets That Are Not within the Scope of GASB Statement 68 and Amendments to Certain Provisions of GASB Statements 67 and 68 – effective for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2015—except those provisions that address employers and governmental nonemployer contributing entities for pensions that are not within the scope of Statement 68, which are effective for financial statements for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2016.

 

                GASB Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans – effective for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2016.  This statement applies to OPEB plans and basically parallels GASB Statement 67 and replaces GASB Statement 43. 

 

                GASB Statement No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions – effective for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2017.  This statement applies to government employers who provide OPEB plans to their employees and basically parallels GASB Statement 68 and replaces GASB Statement 45.

 

 

These standards will be available for download on GASB’s website, www.gasb.org, in late June 2015.  Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

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Thanks to our wonderful Puerto Rico friends and hosts, the great people at CPA Diaz-Martinez, the Crawford & Associates staff and friends were treated to a fabulous day on the Caribbean sea on the Saturday following the 2015 Crawford & Associates Government Training Program conference. A catamaran ride to an exclusive island with swimming and snorkeling over a reef provided the perfect end to a great week in San Juan! Even had sting rays and a barracuda join us. Also looks like Justin and Dwayne were having too much fun posing with their pretty hats! We can't thank our dear friends in Puerto Rico enough for a great experience!

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The Oklahoma Society of CPAs held its 2015 Governmental Accounting & Auditing Conference on May 11 - 12, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Norman, OK. Once again this year the conference featured a number of Crawford & Associates professional staff, including Frank Crawford, Mike Crawford, Chris Pembrook, and Marcy Twyman, presenting sessions on pension accounting, AICPA issues update, financial statement consistency, and deficiencies in cash basis financial statements. The conference offered 16 hours of governmental CPE and continues to be one of the most well attended and well received conferences of the OSCPA.

 

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The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued its final standard on accounting and financial reporting issues related to fair value measurements. This standard (GASB Statement 72, Fair Value Measurement and Application) is applicable primarily to investments made by state and local governments and defines fair value and describes how fair value should be measured, identifies the assets and liabilities that should be measured at fair value, and requires specific information about fair value to be disclosed in the financial statement footnotes.

This Statement defines fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The new standard also expands note disclosures to categorize fair values according to their relative reliability.

Statement 72 is effective for financial statements for periods beginning after June 15, 2015, and earlier application is encouraged. More information about the GASB and Statement 72 is available from the GASB web site.

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