3 Reasons Local Leaders Should Know About the Public Finance Authority 

By Brian Dehner, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Edgewood, KY, and serves as a Public Finance Authority board member. Mike Gillespie, former County Commission Chairman for Madison County, AL, and serves as the Secretary for the Public Finance Authority’s Board. 

November 2023 will mark 14 years since legislation was introduced that would allow for the creation of the Public Finance Authority (PFA), which provides an avenue for financing of local projects. Since PFA’s inception in 2010, approved projects have resulted in local public benefits as well as social and economic growth – improving the overall quality of life in communities throughout the country. 

PFA’s focus from inception has been to improve economic conditions in local governments throughout the country – which is why we trademarked “By Local Government, For Local Government™” – to clearly demonstrate the mission at the heart of PFA projects. 

A previous NLC blog written by Brian Dehner, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Edgewood, KY, and PFA board member, highlighted “NLC Members Part of PFA Success Story.” Project applicants have chosen PFA to be one of their financing partners in 46 states, and here are three of the many reasons why: 

  1. Local Governments Empowered with a Voice and Vote: It has been a cornerstone of PFA’s mission to ensure appropriate local approval is obtained for all capital improvement projects in which PFA is involved. In fact, Section 4 of PFA’s Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement actually requires PFA to obtain approval from the jurisdictional government where the project is located. This means local governments have a voice and a vote on PFA projects. PFA highlights on its website that “This differs from most state conduit issuers that typically conduct all necessary public approvals within the confines of their state capitals, without regard to project location or local community input.” Simply put, applicants choose PFA because it is right for them, and local governments can rest easy knowing there is no taxpayer risk on PFA projects. 
  2. PFA’s Governance Demonstrates Commitment to Local Governments: PFA is sponsored by the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, Wisconsin Counties Association, and League of Wisconsin Municipalities, who continue to play a role in PFA’s governance. The board consists of fellow current or former local government officials, like us, who are committed to the needs of local governments and their communities. As local government officials, we know it is easier when people understand the unique dynamics that impact our local communities. 
  3. PFA Provides the Resources You Need for Local Economic Development: As a “By Local Government, For Local Government ™” organization, PFA can be the immediate resource you need to help accelerate local economic development through cost-effective financing programs, including federally authorized finance programs. In addition, PFA understands private activity bond issuance and post-issuance compliance activities, which helps reduce costs, staff time, and liability to local governments pursuing financing assistance. 

If you are interested in learning more about PFA, please visit https://pfauthority.org/. For additional information on PFA’s Finance Programs, visit https://pfauthority.org/finance-programs/

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