ASU's School of Public Affairs to Host Municipal Finance Challenge in March

Feb 18, 2013, 13:59 ET from Arizona State University School of Public Affairs

PHOENIX, Feb. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent economic challenges have caused many municipal projects to fail or be cancelled. Still, notable successes have been achieved when knowledgeable public officials, developers and financial partners have come together to provide winning deal structures.

To advance such creative partnerships in the public interest, the Arizona State University School of Public Affairs is proud to present the 2013 Municipal Finance Challenge.

During the event from March 21-22, 2013, in Phoenix, Ariz., speakers from teams nationwide that have creatively financed and successfully implemented municipal projects will speak about core principles, best practices, and how to assess risks.

The national conference is the second of the school's annual Financial Markets Boot Camp series. It will be held at the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix Hotel, and is dedicated to public officials, practitioners and academics committed to advancing the field and practice of municipal finance and development.

Program highlights include learning about Oklahoma City's success financing more than $2.4 billion of capital improvement projects using temporary sales taxes and citizen involvement, as well as ASU's innovative financial partnerships with the cities of Phoenix and Tempe, and the public sector, to enhance education and business opportunities. Representatives from the Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, N.C., and the Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas, also will be on hand to share their experiences creating successful deals.

Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Programs and director of the school, will deliver the opening keynote address, and Michael Crow, ASU president, will deliver the luncheon keynote.

"Financial capacity in the public sector is the challenge of our times," Koppell said. "Under financial stress and pressure to do more with less, municipalities are entering into evermore complex transactions. These have the potential to deliver tremendous benefits, but, executed poorly, such deals can saddle communities with crippling financial burdens for years."

He added the conference will offer opportunities for dialogue with experts from the public and private sectors, including Jay Goldstone, chair of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, and an alumnus of the School of Public Affairs' master's program in public administration.

"Our speakers include leaders and innovators in municipal finance who are eager to share their knowledge, solutions and strategies for making successful deals happen," said conference co-chair Susan Giles Bischak, president and CEO of Giles & Company Strategic Business Consultants, Inc., and a faculty associate in the school.

Other presenters include key players in municipal finance for economic development, public-private partnerships and infrastructure development, such as: Gabriel Petek, senior director at Standard & Poor's State and Local Government Group; Kurt M. Freund, managing director of municipal finance for RBC Capital Markets, LLC;  Matthew Jones, senior vice president at Moody's Investors Service; James D. Couch, city manager of Oklahoma City; and Ray Garfield, president of Encore Garfield Public/Private LLC.

"The Municipal Finance Challenge is an exciting opportunity to give public-sector finance officers the knowledge they need to structure the best deal, and the confidence to explain and defend their choices to all interested stakeholders," said conference co-chair Michael Stanton, publisher of The Bond Buyer.

SOURCE Arizona State University School of Public Affairs