Local Finance Board Releases Questionnaire for Applicants Seeking Tax Appeal and Other Approvals

by Matthew D. Jessup on July 18, 2012

The Local Finance Board (Board) has released a questionnaire for all municipal and county applicants seeking approval of the Board to:

1. Long-term finance tax appeals;

2. Long-term finance certain emergencies; and

3. Issue bonds pursuant to a non-conforming maturity schedule.

The four-page questionnaire is being used by the Board to help assess whether the applicant has made prior efforts to “prepare for a reasonably forseeable financial challenge” and whether the applicant has “made substantial efforts to control spending.” The questionnaire asks project-specific questions (“When did the applicant become aware of the underlying issue?” “What appropriation and other steps has the applicant taken to provide for the financial exposure?”) and more general operational questions (“Do elected officials receive compensation?” “Are there any shared service agreements in place?”).

The message being sent by the Board to potential applicants is clear from the questionnaire – don’t look for us, the Board, to provide financial relief unless you, the Applicant, have already made substantial efforts on your own.

This message can best be applied to an applicant seeking long-term financing of tax appeals. A municipality or county seeking to finance prior years’ tax appeals, that has not been providing funds via a reserve for tax appeals in the budgets of prior years or the current year, is not likely to be favorably reviewed by the Board.

The questionnaire should be reviewed by all municipalities and counties and used as a guidebook in managing potential financial exposures. Municipalities and counties seeking any of the approvals referenced above should be prepared to complete and file the questionnaire simultaneous with filing their application with the Board.

A complete copy of the questionnaire can be found here.

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