Can Local Governments Pass on Credit Card Fees to Customers?

Courtesy of PT Money (

Courtesy of PT Money (

As a result of a 2013 settlement agreement in a federal district court anti-trust case in New York State, yes, they can. Many local governments have long allowed people to pay fees and charges by credit card, and no Washington State law prohibits them from passing on to customers the fees that credit card companies charge for the use of their services (“interchange fees”). However, the major credit card companies (Visa and MasterCard) would not allow it for certain transactions. But, as a result of this settlement, those credit card companies now allow “merchants,” including local governments, to impose that surcharge on these transactions, as long as certain requirements are followed. Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Legal | 2 Comments

Made in Washington: Encouraging Local Industries

Maker space

MAKERS Co-working Space in Downtown Seattle. Courtesy of Will Foster.

Contrary to popular opinion, the U.S. is still the top manufacturing nation in the world. And there is renewed interest here in local industries, driven by the rising costs of doing business in China, global fuel costs, the appeal of customized, local products, and just-in-time delivery of goods. Continue reading

Posted in Economic Development, Planning, Policy | Leave a comment

Overtime 101

What is overtime?

Both federal and state law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Washington State Minimum Wage Act, require payment of overtime to nonexempt employees for the time they work over 40 hours during a work week. (When the two laws differ, the employer must comply with the law that is more generous to employees.) Overtime pay is at the rate of not less than one and one-half times the employee’s regular pay rate. That’s the general rule; there are some situations that might require a different result, as I discuss below. Continue reading

Posted in Legal, Personnel | Leave a comment

Chameleon Contractors

I recently received a research request involving a contractor who was operating under several names, which in itself is not a bad thing, but in this instance at least one of those “aliases” was an obvious attempt to cover up a bad reputation as another company.  MRSC and the agency’s attorney had discussions about how to develop supplemental bidder responsibility criteria to address this issue.  Continue reading

Posted in Public Works | Leave a comment

Judy Cox, MRSC’s Public Finance Consultant, is Retiring! :-(

judycox370And, boy, will she be missed, and not only by the MRSC staff but also by the many, many local government officials she has assisted on thorny finance questions since March 1991. She is one of the foremost experts on local government finance in Washington State and has cultivated an impressive fan club of finance professionals whom she has generously mentored over the years.  We’re not sure how we can replace her. Continue reading

Posted in Finance, General | 4 Comments

Introducing the New MRSC Logo


Drum roll please: It is with great pleasure and pride that we introduce the new MRSC logo (see above). With the help of Eben Design, we have successfully updated our look with something that captures the spirit and energy of where we are moving as an organization. Continue reading

Posted in General | 7 Comments