Displaying episodes 1 - 30 of 32 in total

Greg Abbott: City Manager

Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants to take over policing of downtown Austin. We talk about Texas' continuing shift away from limited government/local control and what it means for Texas cities. Plus an extended Christmas discussion, including Hallmark movies, home video, and we revisit Elf on the Shelf.

Czech yourself before you wreck yourself

In a special, barely-related-to-city-government episode, Cody Janicek joins us from Prague to talk Covid, living in Europe as an American, growing up with Chad, and college rivalries.

The "Chad's Mannerisms" episode

Google announces a "No-Meetings Week", and CityLab discusses the downsides of open floor plans.

Sales Tax Gameday - November 2020

Often imitated, never duplicated. It's the one and only Sales Tax Gameday! We dive into the highs and lows of a bounce back month, announce the first ever Sales Tax Gameday winner, can't seem to let go of a random Great British Baking Show reference.

Covid resurgence, broken ice cream, street grids, and murder hornets

In what might be our nerdiest episode yet, we talk about the recent surges of Covid-19 and street grids, a software engineer who hacked McDonald's to find out which ice cream machines are broken, a French protest via murder hornets, and more.

Sales Tax Gameday - October 2020

We recap our TeamZac projections and then dive right in to October 2020's sales tax collections across the state of Texas. Who won? Who lost? Let's find out!

Round Robin - From AirBNB to our national treasure, Mike Leach

We're scattershooting today! AirBNB is piloting a new City Portal; CityLab analyzes whether cities defunded the police in FY21; a San Antonio billionaire wants to pay for weekly Covid tests at local schools; and our national treasure, Mississippi State coach Mike Leach.

Sales Tax Gameday - September 2020

Temperatures drop, and so does sales tax. Patrick and Chad continue the new monthly feature of totally on-the-fly exploratory analysis of city sales tax collections. Come along with us as we dig into September's allocations for the first time to see who's up, who's down, and what can we learn from today's data drop.

The Last Dance

In which Patrick and Chad try to apply leadership lessons from the totally unrelated topic of championship-level basketball to city management based on the ESPN documentary "The Last Dance" and Chad unintentionally interrupts Patrick like 12 times.

Dataviz tips and dad jokes

We'll all be building our adopted budget books and sending them off to GFOA soon, so here's a few quick tips to maximize the impact of your data visualizations.

Sales Tax Gameday - August 2020

It's sales tax day, and since college football is in doubt for 2020, we do our best to provide you with some kind of game day experience. Come along as we look at how cities across the state of Texas performed

Kevin Shepherd on fiscal sustainability, infrastructure gaps, and the future of development

Kevin Shepherd, founder and CEO of Verdunity, joins us to talk about the sustainability gap most cities don't even know they have.

A city used these easy steps to have a productive council meeting and you won't believe what happened next!

OK, so maybe the title is a bit hyperbolic. But everyone's been there: stuck in council chambers, time ticking away, missing your favorite show or maybe even Thursday night football. Meanwhile, nothing productive is happening in your city council meeting. In this episode, Patrick and Chad offer a few tips for fostering productive city council meetings.

What's Proptech, and how has Covid affected sales tax?

In this episode, we talk about Proptech and how the Covid closures have impacted sales tax collections across Texas.

VC and ED

Why can't DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, etc, ever seem to make a profit? Or even play nicely with their restaurant partners and drivers? In this episode, we argue that a big reason is the distortionary effects of venture capital. In exchange for rapid growth, VC has subsidized both the product and some very poor business decisions by removing something all functioning markets need: price signals. Could the same be true for our efforts in economic development? Are we subsidizing quick, short-term growth at the expense of long-term fiscal health? How would we focus our ED efforts if we couldn't provide rebates, grants, or incentives?


It's May 1st, and Texas is officially reopened. Pat and Chad discuss Governor Abbott's order to reopen the state, whether the general public will jump at the chance to get back to normal, and how localities will be impacted by the enforcement mechanisms of Abbott's plan.

Budgeting under the cloud of COVID-19 with Kyle Lester

We chat with Kyle Lester, finance director for the City of Colleyville, Texas, about budgeting in uncertain times. How is the COVID-19 response impacting budget plans? How can finance professionals help keep cities moving forward when so much is unknown? And a detailed discussion of how we would handle managing Leslie Knope, the overzealous deputy director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Pawnee, Indiana.

SCADA-as-a-service, appraisal mishaps, and time travel

We talk about the future of SCADA systems, a very unfortunate error in a Utah appraisal district, and differing movie-time-travel rules.

James Earp on the local response to COVID-19

James Earp, assistant city manager for the city of Kyle, Texas, joins us to talk emergency response, continuity of government, and keeping your staff healthy so they can serve the public in the midst of COVID-19.

Brittney Huff on things you don't learn in grad school (aka TYDLIGS)

Brittney Huff, director of operations for the City of Hudson Oaks, joins us to talk about some things you don't learn in grad school. Also introducing a new segment: I Literally Can't Even. - What's missing from the academic discussions of economic development? - Wearing multiple hats as an assistant-to-the-city-manager in a small town. - Learning how to make decisions. - How do you handle managing in a field where you don't have a great deal of technical expertise? Plus a discussion of things about which we literally can't even.

Lamentations on technology and Disney princesses

In this episode, Chad and Patrick talk about attending the Safe-D conference in Galveston, technological miscues at the Iowa Caucus, the end of Internet Explorer, and why Chad's least favorite Disney princess.

The future of ZacTax, software spies, and zipper merges

In this episode of ZacCast, we talk about the future of ZacTax and our company, Eight20 Consulting. We also talk about software spying and why we wanted to remove third-party tracking software from ZacTax. And we wrap up with a discussion about the ever controversial "zipper merge."

Fresh Prince and Strong Towns

In this episode of ZacCast, from fresh prince to urban development patterns, it's things that make you reevaluate your entire existence. We dig in to some of the more controversial elements of the Strong Towns movement, including its prescriptions for where we spend the public's money, and how we organize our teams to make the biggest impact.

Single Local Taxes, Rule Changes, and Christmas Conspiracies

In this episode of ZacCast, Patrick and Chad discuss the impact of the Single Local Tax Rate on December's sales tax collections; wade into some controversy about alleged rule changes being proposed by the Comptroller; and even make time for some Christmas conspiracy theories.

Robert Hanna - Downtown Redevelopment in Abilene

In this episode of ZacCast, Abilene, Texas, city manager Robert Hanna joins us to talk about his city's downtown hotel/convention center project. We discuss the difficulties inherent in complicated projects, steering large organizations toward a common goal, and gaining community buy-in for potentially controversial projects.

Lifting the auditors' vail

Audit week can be one of the most stressful times of the year for city management. In this episode, Doug Martella from GoVirtual CFO returns to talk about his experience auditing cities, and what aspiring city managers should know about the audit process. We'll even sneak in a secret your auditors probably don't want you to know.

The Single Local Tax Rate Episode

In October 2019, the State of Texas implemented its new Single Local Tax Rate for online and out-of-state sellers. On this episode, we talk to Doug Martella of GoVirtual CFO about the new program and how it will impact sales tax collections in Texas.

Mr. Miyagi, Facebook, and Christmas Spite

Patrick and Chad shoot the bull on a variety of topics, including our upcoming talk at the UMANT One-Day Conference, the ethical implications of cities continuing to invest in social media, and we geek out a bit on Christmas decorations.


This episode of ZacCast is all about Rework, a book by the founders of Basecamp. We talk about some of the bigger principles in the book, like embracing constraints, thinking small, productivity killers, and the myth of culture creation. And we offer some ways to apply them to your city.

Haters gonna hate (local control)

We discuss the now-notorious Bonnen Tapes, in which the Speaker of the Texas House is caught outlining his desire to make life difficult for local governments across Texas. What does this mean for Texas cities, and does the public admission portend possible improvements to the state/local relationship?

2019 TeamZac