In accordance with State law, beginning October 1, 2011, units of local government (local unit) receiving statutory revenue sharing under PA 140 will now have to meet certain requirements to be eligible to receive a percentage of the total revenue sharing appropriated. This is known as the Economic Vitality Incentive Program or EVIP. One such requirement is to make available for public viewing a Citizens’ Guide to finances and a Performance Dashboard. The EVIP defines a few broad elements that should be included but recognizes each unit of local government is unique and therefore allows each local unit to identify its own set of financial and operating measures and results. The purpose of this numbered letter is to provide some guidance to assist local governments in creating these two documents.
The purpose of the Citizens’ Guide is to provide a more transparent understanding of local unit finances by the citizens. The intent is to provide a simple graphical presentation of the most important financial measures, in a manner that can be easily understood by the average citizen. While the local unit has flexibility regarding the contents of the Citizens’ Guide, it must include recognition of its unfunded liabilities. The local unit has the latitude to create the guide in a manner best suited for the local unit.
The Performance Dashboard should include those financial and operating measures that are most important to the government and its citizens. Meeting this criterion will require the local unit to report on measures such as fiscal stability, economic strength, public safety, quality of life and other measures the local unit select that are relevant to the local unit’s strategic goals and objectives.