Which Political Subdivisions Are At Risk for Bankruptcy?

I've been getting a lot of questions and comments lately about municipalities and bankruptcy. As some readers may recall, in 2010, I pressed our then-finance director to please address just what bankruptcy in a municipal setting is all about (I should add that there was extreme reluctance from pretty much all corners to entertain such a question but that's another story - my point was that people needed to be aware of what we were looking at when we looked over the cliff). I never believed that I would contribute to any decisions that would in fact lead Pepper Pike into bankruptcy, but as a former director of risk management, this is what you do - you need to know.

My responses, this year, have all been that there are many circumstances that must exist for bankruptcy to end up being the option chosen by (or forced on) a municipality and that the examples we're seeing in the news are not comparable to Pepper Pike, for many reasons, despite any similarities people may seem to recognize. This article which I just read today, "Surviving California Municipal Bankruptcies," is a good primer on just how it happens, and how it can be prevented.  And I've kept an eye on this community for a while - San Carlos - because I listened into a shared services webinar they did a few months ago about all the steps they've taken to maintain service provision and not go near bankrupt.

With the switch to Beachwood for Pepper Pike dispatch starting yesterday, we're well on our way to learning from examples like San Carlos - and that's a good thing.

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