The Municipal Finance Handbook conveys a fascinating, rich, and vigorous story on municipal finances to help local government practitioners, particularly staff of medium and large cities, in improving strategic management. The book aimed to be a basic learning instrument for local officers; however, central government staff, municipal consultants, and even university students will presumably find it very useful.
The book is a good combination of theory, pragmatic how-to advices, and best practices derived from global experiences, many gained in World Bank projects. Studying trough examples and from city stories and guiding the readers by honestly explained real-life situation with simple numeric illustrations, summary comparative tables, and cases, and then telling what has worked and what has not, are among the prime didactic principles of this book.
The eight chapters provide for a very comprehensive picture on municipal finances and exceptionally broad scope in the light of the comparable literature. The chapters cover an overview of fiscal decentralisation and intergovernmental finances; a glimpse into managing metropolises; detailed discussions on municipal financial management, managing local revenue, managing local expenditures, managing local assets, and managing external resources. Finally the book discusses performance measurement and provides for a tool for financial self-assessment.
Practitioners seek ideas and tools on managing finances, because they are under pressure due to global crises and because devolution of responsibilities happened without adequate transfer of resources. Some municipalities have opportunities to access external funds without knowledge about how to tap in by programming priority investments, preparing fundable projects; and enhancing creditworthiness.
The book advocates sound municipal management which requires improved governance and enhanced accountability supported by transparent budgets, good revenue administration, reliable customer services, proper outsourcing to public utilities, adequate asset management, prudential borrowing, and clear monitoring of performances.