Revise short-term forecasts

Despite the overwhelming uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, cities can use financial forecasting to manage through the crisis. Planning for various scenarios can help cities better manage their resources and maximize public value for residents.

ASSESSMENT

Some questions to guide your thinking

  • What are the best and worst-case revenue scenarios for your city?
  • What data can the city use to validate and stress test assumptions?
  • How can the city use these scenarios to prepare for a variety of possible futures?
Reading

Diagnosing your city's fiscal health

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) 20 minutes

This report guides leaders through an initial diagnosis focused on technical and financial elements of administering local government.

Reading

Planning for various scenarios during a pandemic

Social Finance 15 minutes

This resource provides a useful framework for leaders to explore four potential scenarios that might arise from the government response to the pandemic. Scenarios are mapped based on how services might be financed and transformed during the pandemic.

Video

Updating forecasting models

MSRC 40 min

This webinar discusses many of the issues local governments are likely to face in the coming weeks while dealing with the pandemic.

13

Updating your model

16

Forecasting revenues

37

Forecasting expenditures

Reading

Understanding the fiscal impact of the pandemic recession

National League of Cities (NLC) 30 minutes

This report analyzes finance data from the US Census Bureau and unemployment projections from the Congressional Budget Office and proposes a framework for the analysis of budget shortfalls encompassing revenue responsiveness and economic conditions.

  • Nearly all cities, towns, and villages will experience revenue shortfalls in 2021.
  • The magnitude of the shortfalls will depend on the underlying fiscal structure
  • Pages 12-13 contain an appendix with principal estimations by state.
Reading

Understanding the challenges and opportunities of budgeting during COVID-19

Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative (BHCLI) 10 minutes

This handout describes an approach to budgeting during the pandemic recession that relies on re-imagining the city budget. Cities should be aware of the limitations they face, including lack of coordination at other government levels and the inability to use traditional revenue sources.

  • Leaders must plan for best-guess and worst-case scenarios, update those scenarios, and adjust accordingly.
Podcast

Budgeting during COVID-19

Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) 55 min

In this podcast Norfolk, VA budget director Gregory Patrick discusses how his office assembled an annual budget during COVID-19, including detail on how their process changed and what the financial impact may …

  • Adjusting revenue estimates [12:25]
  • Managing expenditures [15:10]
  • Managing uncertainty [20:00]
  • Strategic planning during crisis [25:25]

Reading

Diagnosing your city's fiscal health

This report guides leaders through an initial diagnosis focused on technical and …

Reading

Planning for various scenarios during a pandemic

This resource provides a useful framework for leaders to explore four potential …

VIDEO

Updating forecasting models

This webinar discusses many of the issues local governments are likely to face in …

icon/Link Go to link

Reading

Understanding the fiscal impact of the pandemic recession

This report analyzes finance data from the US Census Bureau and unemployment …

Reading

Understanding the challenges and opportunities of budgeting during COVID-19

This handout describes an approach to budgeting during the pandemic recession that …

Podcast

Budgeting during COVID-19

In this podcast Norfolk, VA budget director Gregory Patrick discusses how his office…

icon/Link Go to link