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Community Engagement & Local Partnerships, Lost Revenue & Revenue Replacement

For purposes of calculating revenue, if the municipality owns an asset but does not report the asset on its books (e.g., zoo or performing arts center), should that revenue be included in its calculation?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) has not issued specific guidance regarding whether a municipality should include revenues of assets it owns but does not report on its books. Treasury has, however, provided several helpful guidelines which are summarized below.

First, the Final Rule has adopted the definition of “general revenue” as the following:

Money that is received from tax revenue, current charges, and miscellaneous general revenue, excluding refunds and other correcting transactions and proceeds from issuance of debt or the sale of investments, agency or private trust institutions, and intergovernmental transfers from the Federal Government.[1]

The Final Rule creates a standard allowance option of $10 million to ease the administrative burden of calculating revenue loss by “allowing recipients to select between a standard amount of revenue loss or complete a full revenue loss calculation. Recipients that select the standard allowance may use that amount for government services.”[2]

Moreover, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”) Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) state that municipalities may “consider the classification and instructions used to complete Census Bureau’s Annual Survey,” and specify that recipients can consider all current charges for the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey as eligible under “general revenue” under the Final Rule. [3] 

Per the Annual Survey, general revenue current charges include “[c]harges of publicly owned commercial enterprises not classified elsewhere, such as markets, cement plants, cemeteries, etc.[4] Notably, the Annual Survey confirms that the definition of “current charges” includes the “income of commercial enterprises” which might be common revenues from assets owned by a municipality that are unreported. Additionally, the Annual Survey lists revenues that are considered “current charges,” including:

gross revenue of facilities operated by a government (swimming pools, recreational marinas and piers, golf courses, skating rinks, museums, zoos, etc.); auxiliary facilities in public recreation areas (camping areas, refreshment stands, gift shops, etc.); lease o r use fees from stadiums, auditoriums, and community and convention centers; and rentals from concessions at such facilities.[5]

Though the case of assets not reported in a municipality’s books is not explicitly referenced in terms of revenue loss, the guidance suggests that these assets, including zoos and/or performing arts centers, may be included in the general revenue calculation, depending on the circumstances.  Municipalities finding themselves in such circumstances should obtain the advice of licensed accounting and/or legal professionals to ensure their revenue calculations are correct and in accordance with the law.

Last Updated: February 20, 2022

[1] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR 35 at 408, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule.pdf.

[2] Id., at 7.

[3] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: Frequently Asked Questions (updated January 2022), FAQ #3.9 at 16, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[4] U.S. Bureau of the Census, Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual, at 4-32, available at: https://www2.census.gov/govs/pubs/classification/2006_classification_manual.pdf.

[5] Id., at 4-35.