HdL hit some big milestones in 2022! We surpassed 600 clients, celebrated our 15th ESOP Anniversary, and congratulated our President/CEO, Andy Nickerson, on his 30th Anniversary with HdL. Here's a recap of our standout projects, SME, and company culture in 2022. 



Sales Tax: SoFi Stadium Revenue

HdL assisted the City of Inglewood to determine which SoFi Stadium construction projects qualified for a direct allocation of local 1% tax. We created specialized geographical area reports to track all sales and use tax revenue from the construction materials during development and all retail, food, and beverage sales upon its opening.

“HdL has been a vital strategic partner and instrumental in assisting the City with expert analysis and innovative data collection services. They assisted Inglewood in evaluating the effectiveness of various contractual agreements,” said Christopher Jackson, Sr., Director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Inglewood.


Economic Development: Keep It Local

The City of San Leandro's Recovery Grant Program offset $372,140 in outstanding rent for small San Leandro businesses. HdL’s ECONSolutions and Business License teams worked together with City staff to create and customize a Commercial Rent Relief grant program. 

“We really appreciate the time, attention and responsiveness that was dedicated to this project by HdL, the thinking outside of the box and the new processes created on both sides. Our team is nimble, but we have limitations as a small city. We would not have been able to maintain day-to-day operations while rolling out a project of this caliber. It’s hard to let others represent the City, but we had already created a strong relationship through HdL’s Business License services. The firm brought additional skill sets to the table that allowed the City to continue providing the services that our community expects,” said Katie Bowman, San Leandro’s Economic Development Manager. 

Upland gift cardHdL also partnered with numerous agencies to boost local economies through digital gift card programs. The Cities of Angels Camp, Hercules, Lake Forest, Lemon Grove, Orland and Upland are currently running programs and their numbers are still climbing! With 150+ merchants participating (and more looking to come on), they have sold a total of $752,150 in gift cards, of which $357,470 have been redeemed to-date.

Five additional agencies have completed and closed their programs. They had a total of 120 total merchants participate and sold a total of $790,000 in gift cards, of which $582,000 has been redeemed to-date. The Cities of Baldwin Park, Hawthorne, and South Gate are set to launch early this year.


Business Tax: Revenue Administration

Tax and licensing compliance and administration often require resources and risks that stretch the capacity of municipalities. HdL helped Henry County, GA and the Cities of Chamblee and Peachtree Corners administer taxes fairly and efficiently, educate businesses, and access resources while finding and recovering millions in tax revenue.

Our full suite of administrative services enables agencies to decrease operating costs while increasing revenue and customer service, and we free internal staff resources to do more than data entry. We administered more than 2,500 accounts covering massage licenses, alcohol licenses, and occupation taxes for Chamblee, bringing in more than $3 million in revenue.

Kirsten Gorham, Chamblee Assistant City Manager, said HdL has given the City the opportunity to “provide customers with a better, more accessible experience doing business with the city. The HdL team truly works as an extension of the city staff.”


Cannabis Compliance: Revenue from Taxed Deliveries

The City of Claremont wanted to gauge public support for allowing cannabis businesses to operate in the City, as well as how to regulate commerce and how to tax the sales generated. HdL conducted workshops and circulated an online survey and found that the idea of taxing marijuana commerce was very popular with 90.2% either strongly or somewhat supporting taxing retailers.

While the City has not regulated nor approved cannabis businesses, they did vote to impose a tax on marijuana sales and manufacturing. The new levy will generate as much as $160,000 annually by taxing deliveries from outside Claremont borders.


Local Tax Software: Best-of-Breed vs ERP

Locally administered revenue programs are critical to local government operations but are underserved by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions. The City of Oakland selected HdL, out of several solution providers, to meet the unique and sophisticated needs of the City’s municipal revenue administration programs.

HdL Companies City of Oakland Software

“An ERP tends to rely more on the accounting end of things. The benefit of [HdL] Prime is that it is a comprehensive point-of-sale software solution which collects and processes revenue activities. The ERP system does one thing well but doesn’t do everything our revenue department needs. Prime lets City staff work to their strengths and not be limited by weaknesses in the ERP system,” said Margaret O’Brien, former Revenue and Tax Administrator.

Our best-of-breed local tax software excels in improving all aspects of the revenue administration process, including:

  • Easy-to-use online taxpayer portals to apply, renew, pay, close, search and more
  • Tax, license, and registration processes for all locally administered cyclical revenue programs (such as business license, occupation tax, lodging tax, utility users tax, parking tax, rental unit registration, liquor tax, tobacco, or cannabis tax and others)
  • Internal and external communications including emails to taxpayers and municipal staff



Did you miss a presentation? Now's your chance to catch up... 

Revenue Recovery - From Riches to Rags, and Back to Riches?

As presented at the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers 2022 Annual Conference, February 2022

This session reviewed pandemic impacts, recent changes in the allocation of tax increment funds post-RDA, and the City of Belmont’s revenue challenges. This case study illustrates the importance of utilizing a variety of revenue-raising tools, accurate long-term forecasting, and adaptability to the changing economy.

A Practical Approach – Utility Users Tax Administration and Lessons Learned

As presented at the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers 2022 Annual Conference, February 2022

This session discussed best practices for managing the utility users tax portfolio in your agency, industry perspective and history on why the revenue fluctuates and why local governments have seen significant declines over the last several years. The City of San Luis Obispo shared their experience, the benefits, and the frustrations of turning over the administration of a UUT to a third party in a public-private partnership. 

Local Tax Revenues: Recent Effects, Future TrendsHdL Companies Tracy Vesely presents at League of California Cities Municipal Finance Institute

As presented at the League of California Cities 2022 City Manager Conference, February 2022

California has one of the largest and most diverse economies in the world and has been an epicenter of innovation, entertainment, agriculture, and tourism in America for over a century. A combination of things, mostly stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause economic disruption and uncertainty. Municipal revenues are uniquely affected in turn. HdL provides an analysis and outlook of economic and financial trends for the year ahead in California.

Grant Funding: Indirect Cost and Federal StimulusNGMA HdL Companies eCivis 2022

As presented at the National Grants Management Association 2022 Annual Conference, April 2022

Maximizing and sustaining revenue is more important now than ever. Fiscal recovery funds and federal grants are a chief source of revenue across the board for state, local, and tribal governments. Agencies spend on average 30-40% of total program cost in indirect cost to support federally funded grant programs. However, much of this indirect cost ends up being subsidized by the general fund. It is critical that agencies understand their true costs in order to support their programs long-term. 

Local Gov’t Taxes: Budgeting, Forecasting, and Future Trends

An Institute for Local Government - hosted webinar, May 2022

California cities, counties and special districts are embarking on annual budgeting activities. These budgets are based on projections around sales tax, property tax, hotel tax, and business license fees many of which have been impacted by continued uncertainty from the pandemic and the ever-changing guidelines and protocols. This webinar shared economic and fiscal trends, and how local governments are using this data to inform budgeting and long-term planning.


Fiscal Sustainability: A Look At How The Pandemic Changed UsMMASC HdL Companies 2022 Bobby Young Dan Fox Oliver Chi

As presented at the Municipal Management Association of Southern California 2022 Annual Conference, July 2022

The past couple of years have been anything but fiscally predictable, forcing organizations to think outside of the box when it comes to fiscal sustainability. HdL, Oliver Chi, Irvine City Manager, and Dan Fox, Diamond Bar City Manager how the pandemic has affected local government and how it will change the way fiscal preparation is done.


Fundamentals of Municipal Revenue

California Society of Municipal Finance Officers Educational Series, September 2022

The Fundamentals of Municipal Revenue series presented the basics of key revenue sources. Module I provided an overview of California local government revenues and in-depth coverage of property tax. Module II focused on sales tax including discussion on tax rate components and allocations, and how sales tax revenues are administered. In addition, the course covered revenue trends, how remote (online) sales taxes work, as well as tools for forecasting and maximizing sales tax revenue. Module III covered other taxes and fees that are important revenue sources for public agencies such as documentary transfer and property transfer taxes, hotel occupancy taxes, utility users taxes, franchises, royalties, rents, and licenses.



Andy Nickerson’s 30th Anniversary

Andy Nickerson, HdL President/CEO, celebrated 30 years with HdL Companies! Under his tenure, HdL has become a more diversified company with expanded service lines and partnerships. His journey with HdL is truly inspiring!

Andy Nickerson 30th Anniversary HdL Companies

  • 1992 - Andy was hired as an intern and worked as a Data Analyst.
  • 1994 - Andy moved to HdL Coren & Cone as a Principal and then Vice President.
  • 2010 - Andy started his role as HdL’s President/CEO.

We interviewed our loyal leader in the hope he would reveal the secret sauce of successful leadership that we could emulate…

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up and why?

A. Director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. I wanted to fix all that’s wrong with the DMV and become a hero to all Californians. I’d still take the job today if it were graciously offered.

Q. Tell us about a work of art (be it physical, musical, theatre, a book, etc.) that has touched your life.

A. The Library of Congress in Washington DC. In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful building in our country, the largest library in the world, and houses millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and manuscripts. It’s a true masterpiece and I encourage you to visit in-person.

Q. What is your favorite lesson/hobby to teach others?

A. I have enjoyed teaching elementary, middle school, and high school students how to wakeboard. It is very difficult to learn how to get up and stay up on a wakeboard, but when they learn how, it’s a great accomplishment. Something to celebrate!

Q. What inspired you to become a HdL Board Member?

A. I joined the HdL Board a couple of years after becoming the firm’s President (around 2012). At that time, the Board was very informal, and I was inspired to help transition the Board into one that would advance our vision for the organization by providing Board governance and decision-making and to provide our management team with guidance on best practices and business strategy. I was then, and remain today, very passionate about having independent directors with diverse experiences and perspectives.

Q. If you had unlimited resources, what is the one thing you as a board member would like to do for the industry we serve?

A. Provide software solutions, best practices, and support services to help local governments build and maintain vibrant communities and deliver essential services to their constituents.

Q. What lasting lesson have you learned from working with HdL in relation to our mission?

A. I’ve learned that exceeding expectations builds trust and lasting relationships and that doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult, leads to long-term success.


HdL’s 15th ESOP Anniversary

HdL Companies Make a wish 2022

In 2006, Robert Hinderliter and Lloyd de Llamas began researching exit strategies that would facilitate their transition into retirement. They took time to consider all available options and how each would impact the company and its valued employees. In the end, they determined that selling a percentage of the company to the employees would be the best strategy for all parties involved. In 2007, the first transaction was completed and the HdL ESOP bought 33% of the company. This was a big change for HdL. The culture of being an ESOP company took hold; employees began to receive their statements and understand what being an employee owner meant. 

Fast forward to 2012… With amazing growth, the HdL ESOP was able to purchase the remaining shares and became a 100% employee-owned company. This is a tremendous feat as the majority of  ESOP companies are only partially owned by their ESOP. The ESOP Association estimates that only 30-40% of ESOPs are 100% employee owned.

Highlights from our 15th Anniversary:

  • We presented on the importance of maintaining a great culture to foster employee engagement at the California and Western States Employee Ownership Conference.
  • We received two distinguished awards:
  • Communications Excellence Award - for New Employee Onboarding
  • Best ESOP Event - for a visit from Congresswoman Young Kim to our Brea headquarters.
  • We held our first ESOP Summit. “On the first day, Richard Park, CFO, explained how our stock price is evaluated. He discussed how our profits drive the stock price and reinforced the notion that our daily work is directly tied to the health of the stock and thus our retirement benefits,” said first-time attendee, Natalie Bowman.
  • We received two scholarships.
  • We partnered with Certified EO to increase our education.
  • We ramped up our in-person community service and added Make-A-Wish to the lists of charities we support.


Wear A Pair, Give A Pair

We learned that one of the most requested items for homeless shelters are socks, so we crafted our very own HdL-branded feet warmers and used our presence at CSMFO, GFOA, League of California Cities, TML, and other conferences to promote this cause. The #wearapairgiveapair campaign was simple… On Day 1 of a conference, attendees picked up a pair, and on Day 2, attendees returned wearing their new swag. For every pair worn, we donated a pair to a local shelter. We enjoyed seeing the socks used as hand warmers, pocket squares, or dressed up with a pair of heels! Thanks to your participation, we were able to donate a total of 400 socks in 2022!

CSMFO HdL Companies 2022

L-R: Bobby Young, Joan Michaels Aguilar, Robert Gray, Connor Duckworth, Jennifer Pierce, Mary Hubbell, Howard Longballa (pocket square), Tracy Vesely (badge promoter)



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