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Financial Planning

Financial Planning is all about vision. Municipalities know they must always consider future needs, as well as meet immediate concerns, when evaluating and prioritizing needs for their communities and budgeting for these decisions.

Ehlers assists clients in strategically planning projects and balancing fiscal implications for the short- and long-term.

Ehlers services include:

Strategic Planning and Goal-Setting

Strategic Planning, Policy & Goal Setting

Communities are concerned with the long-term financial implications of their decisions. How has growth or the lack thereof influenced the funding of facilities and public services? What do we want our city or county or school district to be in the future? What are the financial implications of this vision?

Setting goals for a local government and establishing the means to achieve those goals requires experience with group facilitation and a strong background in local government. Ehlers' staff has comprehensive experience in focusing elected officials set a realistic and achievable strategic roadmap for their future.

Financial Management, Capital Improvement, and Capital Funding Plans

Budgeting should not be "paycheck to paycheck." The best communities and school districts set a strategic financial roadmap to meet. They also establish the financial foundation and policies needed for their long-term success, not simply to meet today's needs. A long-range financial plan that coordinates resources and sets clear priorities makes the annual budgeting process less painful and enables policy makers to focus on bigger picture questions related to tax rates, utility rates, user fees, property or sales taxes, debt levies, and debt-to-cash ratios.

The process should establish long-term financial policy goals develop an inventory of capital needs and program requests; prepare an inventory of alternative financial resources; presenting funding options; analyze the financial impact of options; prepare an affordable, comprehensive financial plan; and develop a framework to review future capital projects. We see ourselves as team members with engineering, finance and other staff to address options and produce solutions. We can help to explain the program, set goals for the process, and establish a timeline for completion.

Capital and Operating Levy Impact Analysis

Evaluating and balancing the needs of your school district, city or town in the face of today's decreasing property values, state aid, and levy limits can seem overwhelming. Staff members are often expected to not only know the needs of their citizens or students, but also understand their levy or referendum authority and complex formulas estimating tax impact against projections of varying types of property values and tax rates. Ehlers Financial Advisors can help in all these areas and are experts at explaining the projections and analysis to the governing body and the public.

For information on services related to Minnesota school district operating referendums click here.

Cash Management Planning and Investment Strategies

Services and technology provided by banks are constantly changing. Bank products used today could be obsolete tomorrow. These changes affect the way communities collect and disburse cash. Our affiliate, Ehlers Investment Partners, LLC, offers regular reviews with clients to help ensure their bank products are current and the cash management processes they employ are relevant, efficient, and cost effective.

Research and Analysis

Utility Rate Studies

Ehlers has been a leader in conducting utility rate studies for water, storm water, and sanitary sewer utilities that help a governing body ensure the rate structures are sufficient for their utility needs. Ehlers evaluates the projected financial health of a utility year-by year, allowing a community to limit its financial risk and expand and improve its systems as it can afford to do so.

Impact Fee Study and Analysis

Not all development will produce more revenues than expenses. Ehlers assists cities, villages and school districts with fiscal impact analyses of new development estimated changes in population.

Comparative Analysis/Benchmarking

Having data in a relevant, organized, and understandable format is an essential starting point to making good decisions. Ehlers provides a "benchmarking service" to help cities, counties, and school districts compare themselves to a peer group or state averages on an array of ratios so they can make better data driven decisions. We gather, analyze, organize, and present comparisons of relevant data in a meaningful, simple, and understandable format.

These comparisons can be particularly valuable when communicating the need for voter support for an upcoming referendum, in preparing for long-term strategic planning sessions, or prior to making annual or major budget decisions.

Merger/Consolidation/ Annexation Study and Analysis

Studies to measure the impact upon tax rates, capital expenditures, and operating costs are a pre-requisite for consolidations of many types. Ehlers conducts the research and presents findings on the advantages and potential risks associated with combining with another jurisdiction.

Development of Policies and Procedures

Financial Policy Development

Our Financial Advisors can help draft and set policy to guide financial operations for both the short-term and the long-term. This process is an interactive one involving both the staff and elected officials agreeing on long-range targets.

Investment Policy Development

An investment policy defines a community's investment management structure and process and the individuals who have the authority, responsibility and control over its implementation.

An investment strategy defines and creates a plan to achieve investment goals, and is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it continues to meet the defined objectives and taking into account the current economic environment.

Ehlers Financial Advisors and our affilate, Ehlers Investment Partners, LLC, will assist in the formation of an investment policy and strategy that is specific to your community's needs and in compliance with state statutes.

Why Choose Ehlers

  • We understand your needs. Most of our Financial Advisors have come from local government background
  • Extensive database of debt, utility rates and valuations collected on hundreds of local governments
  • Facilitating discussions to set a strategic roadmap / course of financial action
  • Specific recommendations and alternate options for your consideration



Ehlers Investment Partners, LLC - Investment Services

Ehlers Investment Partners, LLC  an affiliate of Ehlers, offers a full menu of investment advisory services that include:

  • Cash Flow Forecasting and Investments
  • Bond Proceeds Investment
  • Investment Policy Formation and Review
  • Investment Strategy Review
  • Treasury Management Consulting

For information about Ehlers Investment Partners services, contact Ken Herdeman or Jack Fay.

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