Richard@BerksonAssociates.com   |   510.612.6906

Richard Berkson

Berkson Associates Provides Policy Planning, Analysis and Forecasting

Berkson Associates specializes in fiscal, financial and economic evaluation to improve California city and special district plans, programs and land use policy. Tools include budget planning, financial benchmarking, cost management, economic development and revenue generating strategies. Futurist forecasting scenarios provide a foundation for strategic management to improve service delivery and organization.

Selected reports

Cover of Mountain House Feasibility Study

Mountain House Considers Incorporation as California's Newest City

On October 14th, 2020, the Mountain House Community Services District (MHCSD) received an incorporation feasibility study and presentation from Berkson Associates. The MHCSD unanimously voted to direct the District's manager to draft an application to LAFCO to become a city.

The report found that the new city could be feasible. Unlike many other communities attempting incorporation, Mountain House already has a governance structure in the form of a CSD, and special taxes fund a significant share of the District services that resemble those provided by many cities. The report included a ten-year budget forecast for the new city.

Cover of MSR for Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, and Westlake Village

Berkson Associates Teams with PCA to Prepare Municipal Service Reviews of Four LA County Cities

Berkson Associates (BA) and Policy Consulting Associates, LLC (PCA) prepared a Municipal Services Review (MSR) for the cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, and Westlake Village. The MSR evaluated the adequacy of service provision and measured financial sustainability utilizing indicators of financial health. The MSR recommended changes to Spheres of Influence (SOIs) for each city. LAFCO accepted the report at its September 2020 meeting and adopted SOI changes the following month.

Cover of Balboa Fiscal Feasibility Report

Berkson Associates Fiscal Analysis Helps Pave the Way for Approval of 1,100 New Homes at Balboa Reservoir

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the Balboa Reservoir Project August 11, 2020. Berkson Associates (BA) prepared a fiscal feasibility (Chapter 29) report in 2018 that was required prior to the City entering into negotiations with the development team that included Bridge Housing, AvalonBay and Mission Housing. Half of the units will be affordable and another 150 units will be earmarked for City College teachers and staff. The project will also include a community center, open space, child-care center and $10 million in fees for transit and infrastructure improvements. BA updated the fiscal analysis in 2020 prior to Supervisors final Project approvals.

Cover of Contra Costa MSR Update

Financial Assessment Provided by Berkson Associates for Contra Costa Cities and Special Districts MSR

Berkson Associates, as a subconsultant, updated municipal service reviews for 19 cities and four special districts in Contra Costa County. The fiscal and financial analysis analysis reviewed Annual Financial Reports and budgets for all agencies. Fiscal indicators derived from a number of sources helped to flag any negative fiscal conditions and trends affecting the agencies, resulting in SOI recommendations. The project was completed in June, 2019.

Page from Assessment of CSJC Utility Systems

Fiscal Assessment of Utility Systems Helps Decide Future Consolidation

Orange County LAFCO commissioned a Municipal Service Review (MSR) focusing on the potential transfer of the operations and facilities of San Juan Capistrano's water and wastewater utility to another public agency. Berkson Associates prepared a fiscal assessment of the utility systems. The MSR will serve as the foundation for a review and analysis of any plan for service and application submitted by an agency.

Report Cover - San Anselmo Economic Development Plan

BA Prepares Economic Development Plan & Strategies

This Economic Development Plan provides direction to residents, merchants and community leaders to improve San Anselmo's economy and attract the types of businesses that will benefit the community. The document describes a range of actions that can help address business constraints and enhance the Town's strengths through public services and programs, community marketing efforts, and physical improvements.

GOVERNANCE

HOW CAN PUBLIC SERVICES BE PROVIDED MORE EFFECTIVELY THROUGH REORGANIZATION, INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION OR TAX SHARING?

Municipal Service Reviews and Special Studies

Annexation and Tax Sharing

Incorporation, District Formation & Governance Options

FISCAL

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF LAND USE DECISIONS, PUBLIC POLICIES AND ECONOMIC TRENDS ON PUBLIC BUDGETS AND SERVICES?

Development Impacts on Public Services, Costs and Revenues

Public Revenue Projections

Asset Management Policies and Programs

Economic Development

PUBLIC FINANCE

HOW CAN PUBLIC FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS BY EFFICIENTLY FUNDED?

Finance Plans and Impact Fees

MARKET/FINANCIAL

WHAT FACTORS AND TRENDS INFLUENCE PROJECT FEASIBILITY?

Market Studies and Pro Forma Analysis

Richard Berkson
Richard Berkson,
Principal of Berkson Associates, believes that sound policies and strategies require careful consideration of causality, creative problem solving, and incentive-based solutions. His practice is founded on 30+ years of experience providing clear and concise fiscal and financial analysis. His approach is based on a solid understanding of local government organization (e.g., formation, annexation, and consolidation), capital improvement policy and programming, and urban economics (demographics, market & financial analysis).

Mr. Berkson was a founding partner of Economic and Planning Systems (EPS) and principal of EPS for over 32 years before forming Berkson Associates. He graduated from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley with a Masters Degree in Public Policy after studying at MIT and UC Berkeley as an undergraduate. He is an associate member of CALAFCO and has been active in the organization for several years. In his spare time he enjoys painting and microfarming, and holds a patent as inventor of a composting device.