Bill Rivenbark, Greg Allison, and Dale Roenigk have partnered with the State Treasurer’s Office to create the County and Municipal Fiscal Analysis Tool. It is a wonderful new online application that allows anyone, especially local elected officials, to easily understand the financial condition of North Carolina cities and counties. A local unit can create a dashboard showing five years of its own financial data in a number of important areas, and then compare the same data from as many as five peer jurisdictions. For example, you might compare your cash reserves or your general fund balance. Right now local officials are overly inclined to rely on the audited financial statement in determining their financial condition, which only tells you that your numbers are accurate, not whether your overall financial condition is good. This new tool allows local officials to see financial trouble developing and do something about it before it becomes a problem. There is nothing like it in the country and we are offering regional training that will teach people how to use it. The tool comes at an ideal time—when local officials need to be paying especially close attention to their financial condition as they try to navigate through these tough times.
So what’s the problem? The name is the problem. Bill, Greg, and Dale have struggled to come up with a name that is descriptively accurate (it is now) and will capture the interest of people who need to know about this important tool (it does not now). It is a pretty boring name. The tool and its potential are incredibly exciting. The name—not so much.
Let’s see if we can come up with something better. Put on your thinking caps and make suggestions in the comment section of this blog. I’m thinking along the lines of Budget Survival Guide or Budget Reality Check or something a lot better. Go to the link in this post if you want more information about the tool.
A dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts to the person who comes up with a new name that is adopted by Bill, Greg, and Dale. They are the ultimate judges. I’m confident that we have the creativity to do this, especially with such a big-time prize on the line.