Financial Health Comparison: Houston vs. Dallas Introduction: The City of Housto
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Financial Health Comparison: Houston vs. Dallas
The City of Houston’s financial health is subject to continuous scrutiny by the public. For most City residents, assessing the City’s financial health is a difficult work. Your task in this project is to analyze the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports and use financial ratios to assess the City’s financial condition. To give the ratios context, ratios are tracked for three years (FY2017-FY2019) and compared to the City of Dallas.
1. Download FY2017-FY2019 CAFR for Houston and Dallas from the following websites:
2. The introduction part of your report should address the following questions for both cities (based on FY2019):
(1) Demographic and economic: What is the population, per capita personal income, and resident median age of the city being reported? What industries is the city’s economy based on (top 3)? Who is the city’s major employer (top 3)?
(2) Revenue and expenditure: What are the main sources of the city’s revenues, including those from both governmental and business‐type activities? By what percentage did each of the three largest sources of tax revenue increase over the last decade? What is the government’s property tax rate? At what percentage of fair market value is real property assessed? What was the city’s largest expenditure for FY2019? By how much did this increase or decrease since last fiscal year?
(3) Funds related: How many capital projects funds does the city maintain? How many debt service funds does the city maintain? Did the city issue additional long‐term debt to support governmental activities during the year? What was the total amount of capital assets used in governmental activities added during the year? Per the city’s schedule of long‐term obligations, what is the total long‐term obligation for both governmental and business‐type activities? Indicate the activities accounted for in both internal service funds and major enterprise funds. Were any of the government’s enterprise funds “profitable” during the year? Which enterprise fund is the most “profitable”? Does the government maintain any permanent funds? If so, are they major or nonmajor funds and for what purposes? Does the government maintain any fiduciary funds? If so, for what purposes?
3. The financial analysis part of your report should address the following ratios (formula in the lecture note) across FY2017-FY2019 for both cities. You need to comment on the trend across years and the difference between the cities.
(1) Fiscal effort (2) Operating position (3) Liquidity (4) Resource growth (5) Adequacy of revenue (6) Stability of revenue (7) Debt burden (8) Debt service cost.
4. End the report with a summary of your findings and a conclusion of which city has a better financial condition. Discuss the key risks and uncertainties facing the City of Houston that might impair its ability to provide required service in the long run.