Town of Cortland, NY

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June 22, 2017
4:23 PM

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   GASB 34
      - When Does Implementation Begin?
      - How Do We Value Infrastructure?
      - How Do We Obtain This Inventory List?
      - What Does The Future Hold?
 


    GASB 34
          When Does Implementation Begin?

GASB 34 was enacted in 1999 and applies to all local and state governments.  It's implemented on a staggered basis depending on jurisdictional income.  The Town of Cortlandt, having revenues between $10 million and $100 million begins in the fiscal year after June 15, 2002, in other words, January 1, 2003.  This deadline, however, is only for new assets.

Governments won't have to "look back" at assets for another three years into the future.  This means that all old infrastructure acquired after 1980 must be accounted for and reported at historical cost, or original price, but there is still time to obtain that data.  Bear in mind that this kind of research is voluminous and time consuming.  Three years will not be as long as it sounds.



          How Do We Value Infrastructure?

There are two different approaches to count up and put a price tag on assets.

  1. One, called depreciation, involves an extensive inventory of items, including their costs and the dates when they were created or purchased. Based the estimated useful life of the asset and potential salvage value, depreciation is calculated per asset.  The value is then calculated based on depreciation over time. 

  2. The second method, called the modified approach, also requires an inventory, but requires regular assessment of the condition of each item (inspection is required no less that every three years) and an estimate of the annual cost to maintain and preserve the infrastructure at a condition determined by the organization.

          Basically, it involves three parts:

  • First, the organization creates an inventory and assesses each item in the inventory.

  • Second, it sets on a "goal" value for maintenance that basically defines what is acceptable for use, perhaps described as "good" or "7 out of 10."  

  • Third, the organization develops an asset management solution that tracks costs associated with infrastructure and its condition over time, typically done with some kind of asset management software tied to the GIS. Along with other capabilities such as work order management, the software generates the GASB 34 reports. With a well-designed GIS, it was certainly possible to create the necessary reports within the GIS and bypass such software.

Regardless of which method the Town of Cortlandt chooses to use to value infrastructure, the first step is to obtain a list of all the assets owned by the Town.

Land Roads
Bridges Curbs
Water Mains Hydrants
Sewer Systems Cath Basins
Gaurd Rails Street Lights
Sidewalks

You name it.



          How Do We Obtain This Inventory List?

The Geographical Information System (GIS) provides both maps of the Town showing various systems (ie., water, sewer, drainage), and text files listing things such as properties, water mains, hydrants, valves, manholes, etc.

These lists can be used as a starting point for the valuation process of infrastructure and fixed assets.  Much of the information needed is available from GIS.

At this point GIS, especially a municipal GIS, does not hold a single purpose. Each extra application area, and each extra department that finds value, adds to the push for its deployment.



          What Does The Future Hold?

Overall, GIS promotes both methods.  The power of GIS can provide a powerful database backbone.

GASB 34 and GIS will have a dramatic effect on the way government does financial reporting, specifically in areas such as:

  • Budget Process

  • Asset/Maintenance Management

  • Customer Service

  • Capital Improvement and Rehabilitation Planning

  • Condition Assessment

  • Work Orders

Together GIS and GASB 34 form a system of hardware, software and human resources that will continue to be a part of government.  As with any system there need to be established internal controls, securities and constant updating of information.



 



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