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2014 Illinois Financial Forecast Forum: 
Private Sector Views that will Impact the Public Sector

The Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies Civic Leadership Academy and Illinois City/County Management Association hosted the sixth annual Illinois Financial Forecast Forum: Private Sector Views that will Impact the Public Sector on January 31, 2014. Industry experts from the financial, housing, automotive, land use, retail, real estate, and manufacturing sectors presented on pertinent economic and financial issues affecting local governments in Illinois. 

Rachel Lange, Management Analyst for the Village of Schaumburg, said she came to the financial forecast to better understand the economic climate of our state and local economies and to get a grasp on what we can expect in the next year or two. “It is very important for municipalities to understand the economy and how it is going to affect our budgets,” she said, adding that the forum came at the perfect time, since Schaumburg is currently preparing their FY 2015 budget. “I really enjoyed the speakers throughout the day and was able to take back a lot of valuable information.”

The nearly 200 local government and finance officials, predominately from the Northern Illinois region, explored economic conditions and the pressures each exerts on local government fiscal health and gathered information to incorporate into their strategic planning, financial forecasts, budget development, and economic development plans.

“It’s encouraging to see so many attendees who have also participated in prior years. Leaders across Illinois are tackling unprecedented fiscal challenges, and it’s encouraging that so many avail themselves to the diverse industry, economic, and market information that was shared at this year’s forum,” said speaker Scott Watkins, Senior Consultant with the Anderson Economic Group.

Watkins noted that a key takeaway from his presentation on Automotive and Manufacturing Industry Perspectives is that although manufacturing is on the rebound across the country and in Illinois, many post-recession jobs in the sector will not be coming back. “New manufacturing jobs require technical skill sets, which helps manufacturers make more with fewer employees,” he said.

Speaker Aaron Gruen of Gruen Gruen + Associates, who presented on The Economic and Real Estate Outlook for 2014, also recognized the importance of the Financial Forecast Forum.

“Convening events like the Forum are important because public and private, academic and non-profit institutions need to more intensively collaborate to facilitate R&D, close the skills gap, increase the advantages of transportation and logistics facilities and address the infrastructure, education, fiscal and other major challenges,” he said, adding that no one city or type of entity can solve all of the challenges without the assistance of others.

Presenting on The Costs and Benefits to Alternative Service Delivery Methods, a pertinent topic affecting most local governments today, University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Dr. Rebecca Hendrick emphasized that alternative service delivery methods will not necessarily improve the financial condition of local governments, especially in the short run. “Creating and negotiating them often requires significant up-front costs, and they must be managed and monitored in the long-run,” she said.

Other speakers included Rick Mattoon, Senior Economist, Chicago Federal Reserve; Steve Friedman, President of SB Friedman & Company; Jennifer Boyd, Associate, Standard & Poors; Card Woodward of Woodward & Associates; C. Kelley Cofer, President & CEO of the Retail Coach, and Dan R. Long, Executive Director of the Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability.

For Dr. Kurt Thurmaier, Professor and Division Chair of Northern Illinois University’s Division of Public Administration, the highlights were the federal reserve analysis and the bond rating agency presentation. “The former gave us insights into key factors driving changes that local governments need to understand. The latter provided refreshing transparency on how bonds are actually rated.”
Next year’s Financial Forecast Forum has been scheduled for Friday, January 30, 2015. Download the complete set of presentations (9.4 MB - 102 Pages)


Economic & Industry Perspectives
Rick Mattoon, Senior Economist, Chicago Federal Reserve
(download Rick Mattoon's presentation)

Financing Economic Development:
Maximizing Public Benefit; Managing Risk
Steve Friedman, President, SB Friedman & Company
(download Steve Friedman's presentation)

What to Expect from S&P’s New Local GO Criteria
Jennifer Boyd, Associate, Standard & Poors
(download Jennifer Boyd's presentation)

Automotive/Manufacturing Industry Sectors
Carl Woodward, CPA, Woodward & Associates
(download Carl Woodward's presentation)
Scott Watkins, Senior Consultant, Anderson Economic Group
(download Scott Watkins' presentation)

The Costs and Benefits to Alternative Service Delivery Methods
Rebecca Hendrick, PhD, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
(download Rebecca Hendrick's presentation)

Retail/Real Estate Sector Panel
C. Kelley Cofer, CCIM, President & CEO, The Retail Coach
(download C. Kelley Cofer's presentation) 
Aaron Gruen, Principal, Gruen Gruen + Associates
(download Aaron Gruen's presentation)

Future Financial Trends of the State of Illinois
Dan R. Long, Executive Director,
Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability
(download Dan Long's presentation)

Credits: CEU – Earn 0.5; CPE - Earn 5.0

ICMA Credentialed Manager Practice Area: Practice Area 11 Financial Analysis