Monday, December 1, 2008

Howard Fink promoted at Town of Merrillville

A hearty congratulations to our good friend, Howard Fink, with the announcement of his promotion at the Town of Merrillville to Town Administrator.

From the Times:

Howard Fink's responsibilities in Merrillville will increase starting Monday, but Fink said he is ready for the opportunity.

Fink, who has served as the town's community development director since 2006, was named town administrator Tuesday.

The Town Council decided to promote Fink about a week after a second town manager candidate declined the job.

Fink said he was honored to accept the position and happy town leaders have "trust and faith" that he can handle the administrative duties.

Town officials said the town administrator position has many of the same responsibilities of a town manager, but not as much authority as a town manager would have.

Some of Fink's new responsibilities include overseeing the town's daily operations, making sure the town is following proper rules and procedures and being a person residents can contact regarding town topics.

"I will work hard to meet the needs of Merrillville citizens," Fink said.

Fink is familiar with working with Merrillville residents. He led several informational meetings regarding stormwater management fees and also fielded several calls when the town decided to reduce to a single waste hauler.

Fink said he will still take care of the community development director responsibilities while working as town administrator. He said it's important to continue economic development work even with a slow economy.

Town Councilman Shawn Pettit, who is chairman of the Personnel Policy and Employee Benefits Committee, said Fink's promotion doesn't come with an increase in pay. Fink's current annual salary is above $50,000.

If Fink proves he can handle his added responsibilities, the Town Council could later offer him the town manager position. Fink said he would be interested in the job if given the opportunity.

"I wouldn't have taken this role if I wasn't interested," Fink said.

Town Councilman Richard Hardaway said he is confident in the decision to promote Fink. He said Fink has been a loyal town employee who will be able to lead the town in the right direction.

Again, Congratulations!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Indiana Municipal Property Tax Reports

For many of our clients, having recently received their 1782 statements, this is a good time to have a report completed on the impact of the circuit breaker going forward.

Yes, Legislative Services did conduct preliminary analysis for all local government entities in Indiana last spring, but now with new assessment and budgets these reports can be recalculated to refine the projections for 2009 and 2010.

Contact us immediately if you want to have Cender and Company refine your projections for the next couple years. Sorry for the brevity of this post, but frankly we're pretty busy working with our private sector clients all over the State of Indiana on these important updates.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Porter Twp Schools to use tax warrant borrowing

Porter Twp. schools may borrow to help cash flow

PORTER TOWNSHIP | The Porter Township School Corp. board on Monday gave Superintendent Nick Brown approval to seek tax anticipation warrants if necessary to maintain the district's cash flow. (Source: NWI Times)

The borrowing is a normal annual occurrence as school corporations await payment of state and county tax monies.

The state approved the district's 2008 budget last week, Brown told the board, freeing the way for payment of state tuition support funds. But when those funds would arrive was uncertain, Brown said, prompting him to seek borrowing power if necessary.

Brown said he would probably know by midweek how much the district might need to borrow from the Indiana Bond Bank and at what interest rate that would be.

Tax revenue payments from the county were not expected until late in the year, which would also factor into the district's borrowing needs, Brown said. Semiannual county tax payments have been delayed in recent years, prompting many school districts to seek a second round of tax anticipation warrants in a year to pay bills until the funding comes in.

Brown said he didn't feel the nation's financial crisis would affect the district's ability to obtain a loan, but he was unsure whether it would have an effect on interest rates.

Many county municipal entities will be forced to use tax warrant borrowing this fall, quite a few of our clients are doing so, as assessments and budgets are being approved for 2008 on a drastically delayed schedule.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Indiana Municipal Bonds - Financial Advisor

Serving as independent financial advisors to a variety of public and private sectors throughout the State of Indiana, Cender and Company LLC provides each client with individualized, client-focused services to help achieve the results and goals needed for a successful, financial future.

Whether it's your business or personal needs, the combined 48 years of experienced advisors at Cender and Company offer sophisticated, forward-thinking solutions in an ever-changing environment. Just look at the recent media and political frenzy surrounding the credit markets, and an impending government bailout, this has affected all credit markets. We are currently working with our municipal and public sector clients to review options for bond financing in this volatile situation.

Our services include:

  1. Underwriter selection and fee negotiations
  2. Rates and maturities
  3. Coordination of steps necessary to complete the bond issue in the State of Indiana
In later posts we'll outline additional consulting services from our redevelopment, economic development, and business consultants. But, it's important to note that the public sector in the State of Indiana is enduring some dramatic changes, and a financial advisor may be one very necessary tool to help navigate the coming year.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Indiana County Councils begin budget reviews

House Enrollment Act 1001 (HEA 1001) requires for the first time this year, that county councils in Indiana review all budgets for municipalities and townships (and other taxing units) in each county. There is some confusion about the actual affect of these reviews, since they are not binding.

Porter County will begin their reviews tonite.

VALPARAISO | After spending four long nights pouring over the details of more than 90 budgets within the county government, members of the County Council will begin work tonight on their new responsibility of reviewing the budgets of nearly every other local taxing unit.

At least some of the council members question the value of the additional work, considering they were not given the power to take any action in response to their reviews.

Cender and Company will be assisting LaPorte County in conducting their reviews so that they don't feel additional pressure to add staff for the new task. If you are a council member or county staff assigned with this new responsibility let us know, we'd be glad to assist in this chore.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Scannell Wealth Management Group

225 Aberdeen Drive, Suite A Valparaiso, IN 46385 (219) 531-4941

Tim and I had a chance to golf and get caught up on Thursday last week, at the Porter Starke Services golf outing. Great outing and a great time to see a ton of NW Indiana's leaders.

Thanks Tim

Links to Wealth Management Articles worth checking out:

View Recent Scannell Wealth Reports

Scannell Wealth Report, August 25, 2008

Weekly Market Commentary, August 18, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, August 11, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, August 4, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, July 28, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, July 21, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, July 14, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, July 7, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, June 30, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, June 23, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, June 16, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, June 9, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, June 2, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, May 27, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, May 19, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, May 19, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, May 12, 2008

Scannell Wealth Report, May 6, 2008

Mishawaka impact from HEA 1001

Budget woes for South Bend, and a possible surplus for Mishawaka Source:

St. Joseph County, IN
Posted: 5:36 PM Aug 7, 2008
Last Updated: 5:40 PM Aug 7, 2008
Reporter: Marcie Kobriger

South Bend leaders say the city's budget is in dire straits. Right now, a local option income tax is the only option on the table for raising revenue lost to the circuit breaker.

If a local option income tax raise is passed, leaders say budget cuts in South Bend could be bearable, while the city of Mishawaka could end up with a surplus.

It's a tale of two cities.

In South Bend, city leaders are trying to chop 18 million dollars out of the budget by 2010, while Mishawaka looks at a more manageable 2 million in cuts.

So why is there such a big difference?

“Our last five years have been the biggest construction years ever in our history, this year we’ll triple our biggest construction year ever,” says Mishawaka mayor Jeff Rea.

Rea says the city has also cut back for the last five years, which comes with challenges.

“Everyday people call and say, ‘I want more police patrols, I want improvements to my parks,’ but also that ‘I pay enough taxes,’ so it puts a big burden on all of us to figure out how to operate more efficiently,” explains Rea.

South Bend leaders say they have also made cuts. But with 40 police and 53 firefighting positions threatened by the circuit breaker, Mayor Steve Luecke says it is time to look at other ways to raise revenue.

“We’re really taking a hard look at the option income taxes as a part of the solution for providing the services that our residents and our businesses want, and we need to have South Bend thrive,” says Luecke.

The leaders of two of the three major entities in the county: Mishawaka, the county itself, and/or South Bend, have to approve any income tax hike.

If the maximum is approved, South Bend would try to cut 2 million dollars, while Mishawaka parks, police, and development could benefit from a considerable surplus.

“The option income taxes that we currently have were not voted on by Mishawaka, they were voted on by South Bend and the county, and we benefited from them,” says Rea.

The maximum amount income taxes could be raised under House Bill 1001 is 1.25-percent. South Bend would need the maximum raise to get them to a 2 million dollar deficit, while Mishawaka could break even with just a .25-percent increase.

The deadline for a decision is mid-October, but lots of residents have already made up their minds on the matter.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Indiana rates higher than most states


Population (rank): 6,313,520 (15)
Average per capita income (rank): $22,781 (34)
Total state spending (rank): $26,958,772,000 (18)
Spending per capita (rank): $4,270 (42)
Governor: Mitch Daniels (R)
First elected: 11/2004
Senate: 50 members: 17 D, 33 R
Term limits: None
House: 100 members: 51 D, 49 R
Term limits: None

Overall Rating of a B which was much better than many states around.

Mitch Daniels didn't waste any time when he took over as governor of Indiana at the start of 2005. He talked the legislature into voting for Daylight Savings Time, ending a controversy that had dragged on for decades. And he set about privatizing large chunks of state government in order to encourage the competition that he felt would bring better performance in the end. Not all of it has helped Daniels politically. But the state's governmental structure has been changed in important ways.

Daniels' biggest privatization initiative was his move to lease the Indiana Toll Road to an international consortium. The deal brought an immediate $3.8 billion into the state treasury. While other states wait for federal aid that may never come, Indiana is busily designing and building a set of infrastructure improvements that will carry it well into the next decade.

With the infusion of all the Toll Road cash has come new challenges. The transportation department stepped up its planning to figure out how to spend such a large volume of money quickly and responsibly. A 400-project list was developed with the aid of sophisticated traffic projections, as well as citizen input solicited through extensive public meetings and upwards of 3,000 mailed questionnaires.

Building those projects presents significant personnel challenges in an industry that can barely provide enough engineers for the status quo. But the State Personnel Department — through a newly devised strategy of "embedding" central HR staff in the agencies — has concocted a plan for meeting the Department of Transportation's sweeping needs.

The personnel department has successfully fought for market-based salary adjustments for engineers and surveyors, implemented performance-based compensation and bonuses, courted talent from neighboring states and recruited retirees. It also has created a career path through which seasonal maintenance workers are trained to act as construction inspectors — which leaders hope will enable the state to meet the daunting goals of keeping these projects on time and on budget.

Information technology planning in Indiana has improved vastly with the consolidation of IT services — enterprise-wide planning was essentially non-existent in earlier administrations. "We couldn't have pulled this off without the governor giving us dictatorial capabilities," says Chief Information Officer Gerry Weaver. In the first few months after consolidation, feedback was solicited from the agencies that has been used to direct the CIO's efforts since.

Indiana has never excelled in managing for results, and the state has a ways to go. Still, Daniels is getting mileage out of some ideas he implemented at the federal level as the director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bush. Indiana's new state-level Office of Management and Budget is using a version of the federal government's Program Assessment Rating Tool, which informs funding and management decisions by giving decision makers a snapshot of program performance. So far, Indiana seems to be getting better results with this system than the feds are. Through PROBE (Program Results: An Outcome-Based Evaluation), the state used 18 standard questions to evaluate 420 programs over the course of just 15 months.

While the PROBE time frame only allowed for a relatively superficial assessment, it constituted a significant step forward in a state where performance auditing had been essentially nonexistent. "The biggest finding was that over half of the programs couldn't say whether they were doing a good job or a poor job," says Cris Johnston, executive director of the Government Efficiency and Financial Planning Group within OMB. Johnston's group is devoting significant time and energy to helping the agencies develop better measures for their programs and linking those outcomes directly to employee performance and agency missions. This is no substitute, however, for an independent audit agency with a performance audit function — which the state would be wise to develop.


Monday, August 4, 2008

DLGF extends deadlines for budgets

Special Alert for Indiana Local Government Entities and Taxing Units, released by Department of Local Government Finance on August 1, 2008:

Amended Timeline of Local Budget Process

August 1 Assessed values to be certified by County Auditors. Date unchanged

August 1 On or before August 1, taxing units must file proposals to adopt Cumulative Funds with DLGF. Date unchanged

September 20 Last date to adopt CPF and bus replacement tax rates. Date unchanged

November 10 Last date for first publication of proposed budget. Must be at least 10 days before the public hearing. Original Date: September 10

November 14 Taxing units, other than schools, must submit proposed budgets to County Councils for non-binding review at least 15 days before the unit's adoption date. Original date: September 15

November 17 Taxing units with appointed boards, other than schools, with proposed budget increases more than 4% from the prior year, must submit the proposed budgets to either the city/town fiscal body or the County Council at least 14 days before these appropriate fiscal bodies hold budget hearings. Original Date: September 16

November 18 Last date for second publication of proposed budget. Must be at least three days before the public hearing. Original date: September 17

November 20 Last date to file excess levy appeals, other than shortfall appeals, with the DLGF. Original date: September 19

November 21 Last date for public hearing. Must be at least 10 days before the budget adoption date. Original date: September 20

December 1 Last date for budget adoption. Original date: September 30

December 3 Last date to file budgets with the County Auditor. Must be no later than two days after the budget adoption.

December 17 Last date for County Auditor to prepare a notice of the proposed tax rates to be charged on each one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the various funds in each taxing district.

There are more details, of course, so call our offices at 219-736-1800 or email for first available municipal local government finance consultant at we would be happy to assist your local government agency or municipality in efficiently meeting these new deadlines and all requirements of HEA 1001.

Source: DLGF, Indiana 8-4-08

Thursday, July 31, 2008

LaPorte County in the News

In other business from Michigan City News Dispatch

• Financial consultant Karl Cender updated the council with a preliminary report on the impact of new property tax caps. Cender said that although the new law may help property owners, it will leave a provisional shortfall for local governments, although in the first year the shortfall will not be serious. The council paid Cender $25,000.

Call or email today if you need a similar quick impact study of the effect of HB 1001 on your municipal or public sector budgets in the next couple years.

Municipal Finance and Bond Consultant Website

We've decided to build our new website one small piece at a time, with the input and assistance of our key current and future customers.

If you are a public sector leader, bond counsel, elected municipal or county level official or employee in a city, town, township or county ... we want your input. How can we make this site work "for" you, to help you with tough decision, to provide assistance and information?

Check out the starting page and then comment or email us with your thoughts, we really do want to build the best municipal finance, planning, and budgeting platform for Indiana municipalities that is possible.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cender and Company - in the news

Porter, Indiana

Our team has worked with the Town of Porter Indiana for quite some time and recently completed a utility rate study for the Town. Here's the NWI Times article featuring Cender and Company as Utility Rate Study Consultant.

We are proud to work with such a great community.

Cender and Company - Where are we?

Online locations so far - a continuing and growing project to network online and grow the online presence of our company.

Twitter Profile for @CenderCompany

FriendFeed Page for CenderCompany

Cender and Company on Wordpress blog

This project is being conducted by Green Pointe Partners as an ongoing part of our business development campaign for Cender and Company. For assistance in growing your online media relations, Search Engine Optimization, or other public relations contact them directly.

First Blog Post - Municipal Consultant

Cender and Company is a municipal finance and planning consultant based in Northwest Indiana handling consulting for Cities and Towns all over the midwest.

We provide bond consulting, budget analysis and presentations, fiscal impact studies, utility rate studies, and a whole host of services for Indiana Cities and Towns. Are you worried about the affect of HB 1001 on your property tax rates or collections, then we can help you plan and prepare.

Our team of expert consultants will be chronicled here on this blog, as well as resumes and sample projects will be featured on our company website. We welcome a new challenge and because of this tendency, we get called when the "big firms" can't fit the problem into their pre-packaged services.

Please take time to subscribe to our free RSS feed, which if you use Google Reader or another feed reader, will send you our updates automatically. If you prefer email, there is an option for email updates as well when we post new information, release a newsletter, comment on an important change in Indiana statute ... or whatever we feel is important for our Indiana municipal clients.

Call today at 219-736-1800 or email us at