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Recent Changes to 2005 version of Mun-Ease (12.98o 05/15/08)

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We added a new monthly accruals report in the Stand-Alone Reporting module (#105). The report is sorted in both date and bond issue order.

Importing Coupon Rates - We added a routine to initialize coupon rates for all 40 years even the rate scale to be imported does not contain rates for certain years. Background: The rate scales in the Wall Street Journal do not display rates for all the years after year 20.

We enhanced the rounding routines in the sizing module. We also eliminated a disk IO error message that occurs when a user is resizing a bond issue using a bond ID that currently exists.

We corrected a bug that occurs when a user attempts to merge two or more variable rate bond issues into a single bond issue.

We corrected a bug in the combined indebtedness report. The accruals and accretions were not computed correctly if the report date occurred within a bond's initial stub period.

We added four new arbitrage spenddown reports that show the issuer's compliance of spenddown requirements in each period in the 18-month / 24-month spending timeframe.

We added new two new reports in the Stand-Alone Reporting module. Report # 103 his report provides a list of bonds maturing during a time period defined by the user. Report #104 lists all of the early call scenarios for a group of bonds selected by the user.

We updated the 8038 tax form to reflect IRS-mandated changes that occurred in September, 2007.

We fixed a bug in the routine to import variable rate transasctions from a .CSV (comma-delimited file).

We fixed a bug in the combined indebtedness report. Outstanding indebtedness was not computed correctly when there were called maturities in a bond issue.

We modified the debt service schedule report (#24c) to display asterisks in the coupon rate column on a debt service payment date if the bond issue contained overlapping maturities of if the bond issue contains multiple maturities called on that date.

We created two new reports in the Stand-Alone Reporting module. Report #103 lists all bonds maturing in a user-defined time-period. Report #104 provides a complete list of the call scenarios for bonds that have cascading call options (e. g., callable in 10 years 102, 12 years, at 101.5, and 100 in 15 years). Users can define the bonds to be included in the report by specifying selection criteria in the input screen.

We modified the Listing of Bond Issues report (#25) to display a weighted average TIC.

We modified the variable-rate interest calculation routine. Previously, the interest calculation assumed that all the periodic resets were for a full period. The new routine allows the user to enter a beginning and ending date for each periodic reset. Interest is then calculated by taking time-based weighted-average of the periodic resets.

We enhanced the present/future value calculation utility in the Arbitrage module (Arbitrage | Utilities | PV/FV Calculator). The new routine allows the user to filter the transactions by Fund ID or a date range. The user also has the option to present/future value each transaction by it's own IRR or by a PV/FV factor specified by the user.

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Recent Changes to Mun-Ease (12.95 08/05/07)

We updated the rounding routines used to structure SLGS and open market escrows in the Refunding and Arbitrage modules. We now round our investments using the "banker's rule" convention. Under the "banker's rule", if a calculation creates a result that is an exact half-penny, then the calculation is rounded to the nearest even number.

We added a new column to report #76 (combined debt service on accrual basis) that displays the total of cash outlay of current and accreted interest and the accrual of current and accreted interest.

We made a few modifications to the 8038G tax form. The bitmap in the 12.90 version partially covered some data fields.

We combined two report options in the Maturity-by-Maturity Allocations module. Users can now generate the Allocations by Paying Agent reports (34d,34e, 35) and multi-year debt service schedules (64, 64a, 64e, 64f) from the same menu option. The Paying Agent reports are now generated in about half the time as the previous version of Mun-Ease.

We added a new 20-Year Debt Service Summary to the Allocations module (report #s 101a & 101b).

We fixed a bug in the combined indebtedness report (#07). We also added a new variation of the combined indebtedness report (#07a).

We added a new allocations report (#102) to facilitate the calculation of the issuance price by governmental purpose. This calculation can be used to complete section II in the 8038 and 8038G reports.

We added a new feature that allows you to regenerate the refunding escrow verification report while viewing the investment cash flows (Refunding | Open Market Investments | Create/edit/delete menu option). When you press the cash flows report button Mun-Ease will automatically detect whether the escrow is a single-yield or bifurcated escrow and will generate the appropriate escrow verification report (either report 11c or 11d). This feature allows you to incorporate adjustments made to the escrow analysis outside of the original refunding.

We added two new buttons to the Arbitrage Rebate Transactions Window that will assist users with data entry. These buttons are the Immediate Cleanup button and the Date Increment button.

Immediate Cleanup button

Mun-Ease provides two methods to remove transactions that have a zero value in the amount field. If you set the Immediate Cleanup button to TRUE, then Mun-Ease will not post any transactions to the database that have an amount equal to zero. Thus the "zero-amount" transactions are deleted immediately. If the Immediate Cleanup button is set to FALSE, Mun-Ease will not delete the transaction until you finish data entry. Thus you can initially post a zero-value transaction to the database. However, if the transaction still has a zero-value when you exit the Rebate Transaction grid, it will be deleted before you perform the future-value/penalty calculations.

Background: The Immediate Cleanup button has no effect on the rebate calculations. It only affects how you view transactions during data entry. Some users work on more than one row of data at a time. These users find it distracting when Mun-Ease deletes a zero-value transaction just because the user has moved the cursor to a different row.

Date Increment Button

The Date Increment button allows you to define the date value of a new transaction. Mun-Ease defines a value based on the last transaction posted to the database. When you press this button, Mun-Ease displays a pop-up menu with the following menu options: 0 days, 1 day, 7 days, 14 days, 28 days, monthly, 35 days, quarterly, semi-annual, and yearly. Your selection from this menu determines the default value of then date field when you create a new rebate transaction.

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Recent Changes to Mun-Ease (12.90 3/24/07)

We've added two new reports to the maturity-by-maturity allocations module. Report #34e displays a summary of debt service sorted by paying agent. Report #64e displays a multi-year debt service schedule summarized at the highest level in the allocation hierarchy (maturity-by-maturity allocations).

We've added a new option to amortize issuance costs on an effective interest basis (reports | amortization reports | issuance costs - effective interest method). Background: We originally removed the effective interest method when we implemented the GASB 34 approach to amortizing original issue premiums / discounts (OID/OIP). Under GASB 34 the OID/OIP is amortized separately for each maturity in the bond issue. In contrast to the GASB 34 approach, the old effective interest method amortized both the issuance costs and OID/OIP in aggregate. Under this method, the effective interest was calculated by multiplying the carrying value by the all-inclusive true interest cost (All-In TIC) of the bond issue. The amortization in any year would be the difference between the effective and nominal interest. (Note that the All-In TIC is the discount factor that equates a bond issue's future debt service to a target that includes the OID/OIP.)

Because the old method used the All-In TIC as the discount factor, it is not mathematically correct in a post-GASB 34 environment. The only way for the effective interest method to still be viable would be for us not to use the TIC as the discount factor, but instead use a custom discount factor that is computed for a target value that is exclusive of the OID/OIP. (This is exactly what we have done with our new effective interest method.) If you choose to amortize the issuance costs via the effective interest method, Mun-Ease will now allow you to choose/enter the issuance costs that are to be amortized. After you choose/enter the amount, Mun-Ease computes (and displays) a custom discount factor to be used in the amortization. (stand-alone reporting)

We've added a new 14-day payment frequency for the creation of notes, variable rate bonds, and swap contracts. Notes can now be created for 7-day, 14-day, 28-day, monthly, 35-day, quarterly, semi-annual and yearly payment frequencies (Base Module).

We've updated the web addresses for the Web menu option on the Mun-Ease main menu. (Several of the referenced sites have changed in recent months.)
We now allow users who are running Mun-Ease with a high-resolution monitor to resize data entry grids and parent windows to take advantage of additional screen space. The user resizes the grids/windows by clicking on the "high resolution" button at the bottom of the affected screens. Users can now resize (a) the maturity grid for a fixed rate bond issue, (b) the variable rate transaction grid/window, (c) the TIC/ Bid verification window, and (d) the call/defeasance date grid/window (all modules).
Transactions that are included in the Yield Reduction Penalty Calculation report (#79b) are now weighted by the pool percentage field. In prior versions, Mun-Ease assumed that the pool percentage field had a value of 100% (Arbitrage Module).

We've added two new reports to the Transferred Proceeds Calculation menu option. The first report displays the line-by-line details for the transfer of unspent proceeds of the refunded issue to the refunding issue (#54b). Report #54c displays transferred proceeds for situations in which the bond proceeds of the refunded issue are invested in money market instruments (Refunding Module).

We've streamlined the process to create mailing addresses and labels. Mun-Ease will now insert mailing address information into the 8038 tax forms (8038, 8038G, 8038GC, 8038T, and 8038R) if this information exists for the issuer. Previously this information needed to be manually entered (Base and Arbitrage Modules).
We now automatically update the issuance costs and debt service reserve fund fields in the 8038 and 8038G tax forms with information stored in the Bond Master file (Arbitrage Module).

We've enabled the duplicate button in the Call/Defeasance Dates data entry window. Prior versions mistakenly disabled this button (Refunding Module).
We added new features to the arbitrage yield limit calculation for deep-discount term bonds: (1) Mun-Ease can now perform this calculation for super-sinkers. (2) Mun-Ease now performs an additional test when it calculates the yield to be used for the deep discount adjustments. Mun-Ease will now check the "exclude from credit enhancements" flag on each maturity before calculating the yield used to revalue the deep discount sinkers. Background: The calculation of the yield for deep-discount sinkers requires that lump-sum credit enhancements be included in the target value. Mun-Ease will only include pro-rata share of the credit enhancements if the issuer purchased bond insurance on the deep-discount maturity. (3) Mun-Ease can now calculate the arbitrage yield limit when there are both yield-to-call maturities and deep-discount term bonds within a single bond issue (Arbitrage Module).
We added a new option to the millage impact reports. The user now has the option to display the impact of a bond issue on property tax rates in hundredths of a point or thousands of a point. Prior versions of Mun-Ease only displayed the impact in thousands of a point (Stand-Alone Reporting Module).

We added two new bond issues to the Examples database. The Deepdisc-2006-A bond issue demonstrates how to calculate the arbitrage yield limit when there are both deep-discount sinkers and yield-to-call maturities in the bond issue. The Deepdisc-1998-A bond issue demonstrates how to calculate the arbitrage yield limit when there are deep-discount super-sinkers (Arbitrage Module).
We created a new version of the Escrow Portfolio report (#29). This report displays totals by date of purchase and can be used when the refunding escrow contains rollover SLGS (Refunding Module).

We have made several cosmetic changes to reports in the Sizing, Refunding, and Arbitrage modules. The appearance of packaged reports has been greatly improved.
We corrected a bug in the combined indebtedness report (#7) (Stand-Alone Reporting Module).

We've changed Mun-Ease to ensure that the database buffers are flushed whenever a user adds or edits a bond issue or rebate transactions within a bond issue. Background: To minimize the impact on server resources, the Borland Database Engine (BDE) applies many database updates in memory. The BDE does not flush these buffers until it determines that the server is not busy. To ensure that updates are applied in a timely manner, we now force the BDE to empty its buffers at various points in the program.

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Recent Changes to Mun-Ease (v. 12.70 CD) (11/05/2006)

We've enhanced the input options for entering periodic resets used to calculate the effective interest rate for a variable rate bond. You can now set the intervals for the periodic resets to one of eight values: (daily, weekly, end-of-month, every 35 days, quarterly, semi-annual or yearly) (Base module).

We modified the summary debt service schedule (24e). This debt service schedule is a one-page summary for bonds that make annual principal payments and pay semi-annual interest. Issuers often include this report in their CAFR and Annual Long-Term Debt Summary. Report 24e now displays a separate column for outstanding indebtedness. The column headings for interest and principal payments have been changed to display the month and day of the interest/principal payment. We also provide an option to select a date range for payments included in the report (file | fixed rate bonds | debt service) (Base module).

We've added a new column containing a Y/N boolean value to the periodic fees grid that is displayed when you size or edit a variable rate note. This column allows you to choose whether the periodic fee is to be included in the arbitrage yield limit calculation (Base module).

We added a feature for notes that allow the user to merge debt service payments that occur on the same date into a single payment. (Users can merge payments by pressing the F11 function key while in the debt service payment grid.) Background: Duplicate debt service payment transactions can occur on the same date if a user has merged multiple notes into a single issue (file | notes & variable rate bonds | edit/add/delete) (Base module).

We added a new "merge" command in the fixed rate bonds menu. This option allows the user to merge maturities from two or more bond issues into a single bond issue (file | fixed rate bonds | merge bond issues) (Base module).

We corrected two bugs in the "automated e-mail alert" feature. In cases when multiple e-mails were sent during a user session, the "sent" flag was only set to true on the first e-mail. Also, if a user sent more than one e-mail in a session, the CC list was not reinitialized after the first e-mail (Base module).

We've added several new options to facilitate the data entry of swaps. These include: (a) an ability to size a note that pays interest/principal on a weekly basis, (b) a new 8-character alpha-numeric code that can be used to identify a debt service payment with a specific tranche, and (c) a yearly principal payment feature for notes that pay interest on a weekly, 28-day, or 35-day basis. We modified the Swaps Acounting report so that the user can include multiple tranches within the analysis (Base & Stand-alone Reporting modules).

We added a feature to facilitate partial calls of housing bonds. To use this feature, choose the File | Housing Bonds | Edit menu option. While in the Maturity Grid, click on the "with call ops" radio button. Mun-Ease displays four new columns: (a) the call price, (b) call date, (c) call switch and (d) portion to be refunded. Enter the portion to be refunded and the other call information. Mun-Ease will automatically split the maturities that have the call information into separate maturities reflecting the refunded and non-refunded portions (file | fixed rate bonds | partial calls) or (file | housing bonds | edit) (Base module).

We've added a new report to the Arbitrage module (#79b). This report displays separate columns for the future-value rebate liability and the calculation of the temporary period yield reduction payment (Arbitrage module).

We've updated our Examples database to include an example of how to calculate a yield reduction payment. We've also enhanced the rebate calculations input window to allow the user to perform a yield reduction payment calculation at the same time that he/she is performing future value calculation. Previously the user could not perform both calculations at the same time. We also updated our comprehensive example of performing arbitrage calculations on multiple funds (Arbitrage module).

We've added two new sort options for viewing the rebate transaction database table. Users can now view the rebate transactions sorted by (a) Group ID, (b) transaction date, (c) Fund ID, or (d) in the order entered. Users also have the ability to enlarge the screen and the rebate transaction grid. We added this feature for users who run Mun-Ease at a high screen resolution (higher than 800x600 dpi). By choosing this option, users will be able to take full advantage of additional screen space that results from the higher screen resolution (Arbitrage module).

Warning: We implemented this option by creating a new database table for the rebate transactions. When you start up the 12.70 release for the first time, Mun-Ease will copy your transactions from the old database table (rebate.db) to the new table (rebatev2.db). Thus if you are running in a multi-user environment, you should upgrade everyone to the 12.70 release before entering data.

We changed the WAM (weighted average maturity) calculation that is used to determine whether sinking fund adjustments are required on a deep discount term bond. Previously, we calculated the WAM from the dated date. We now calculate the WAM from the delivery date (Arbitrage module).

We fixed a problem with the report package feature. The problem occurred in situations where the user has placed the database in a folder other than the default location (Sizing, Refunding and Arbitrage modules).

We've modified the combined indebtedness report (#07). This report will now display outstanding indebtedness as of the specific date input by the user. Previously Mun-Ease displayed the outstanding debt to the coupon anniversary date that was nearest to the user-input date (Stand-alone Reporting module).

We've added a new enhancement to all of the paying agent reports in the Stand-Alone Reporting and Allocations modules (reports 44, 34c, 35c, 52, and 52c). We now display a column in these reports for the general ledger charge codes associated with the debt service payment. The charge codes and an associated description are defined in the User Options window (via the User Ops speed button). Users can also override the default values at the time that they generate the report (Stand-alone Reporting module).

We corrected a bug in the Remaining Debt Service report (#44c) (Stand-alone Reporting module).

We added a new input option to the Sizing module. Users now have the option to structure debt service that is level after taking into account disbursements from the debt service reserve fund (Sizing module).

We disabled the "net-funding" option if a user has chosen to size a bond issue by modeling the debt service after a revenue stream. The "net-funding" option is only available for construction projects and NOT for revenue projects (Sizing module).

We added a new report (Combined Debt Service Allocated on a Cash Basis) to the Allocations module. The report displays allocated interest, principal, debt service, and outstanding debt for a period of time defined by the user. Users can initiate this report by choosing the Allocate | By Gross Debt Service | Reports | Combined Debt Service on a Cash Basis menu option (Allocations module).

We have added a new menu option to the allocations module. We now allow you to import allocations into the Mun-Ease database from a comma-delimited text file. We provide two options for importing allocations. The first option imports allocations on an amount basis for the specific maturities in a bond issue. The second option imports transactions that are expressed as a percentage of principal of individual maturities in the bond issue (allocate | by individual maturities | load data from text file) (Allocations module).

We've modified the format of the single year indebtedness report (36j) and the combined debt service on an accrual basis (77). These reports now display an additional column for the description of the bond issue. Because of the additional space requirement, these reports are now displayed in landscape format (allocate | by gross debt service | allocation reports | ...)(Allocations module).

We added new page headers to Allocation reports 34c, 35c, 36c. These reports can be lengthy if the user has created a large number of allocations. Users that generate long reports have requested that we duplicate the group header information on each page header (allocate | by individual maturities | allocation reports | ...) (Allocations module).

We changed several reports in the Allocations module to display the full description in addition to the allocation coding block. Reports that have been changed include the reports 50, 58, 58B, 59, and 62 (Allocations module).

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Recent Changes to Mun-Ease (v. 12.33) (4/10/2006)

We added an "automated backups" feature to Mun_Ease. You set this feature by clicking on the "User Ops" speed button below the main menu. When this option is to true, Mun_Ease will automatically back up your database before it terminates. We added a new input option to the Mun_Ease backups window. You now have option of specifying a unique name that incorporates the current date (<YYYYMMDD>munidb.zip.) (All modules).

We changed the Restore function of Mun_Ease to use the Active X version of zip utility instead of the DLL version (see previous discussion on this topic) (All modules).

We changed our rounding routines for coupon rates that are three decimals in length (e. g., 4.125%). We made these changes in consultation with paying agents in the industry. Although there are no industry regulations that govern how the rounding should be done, our routines are now in compliance with their own procedures (All modules).

We updated our version of the Crystal Reports utility that is distributed with Mun_Ease. We are now using Crystal Reports version (All modules).

We enhanced the Variable Rate Module so that you can define the column headings for the various periodic fees associated with the bond issue/note. Background: The variable rate module can be used for notes, variable rate bonds, and swaps. Mun_Ease allows to define up to 6 separate periodic fees associated with these instruments and options to determine how the fees are calculated. Examples of these fees are remarketing fees, liquidity fees, auction agent fees, and letter of credit fees. In addition to a 30_character description of these fees, you can now define their column headings. These column headings will be shown in all reports and online displays where the fees are displayed (Base module).

New E-Mail Features - We now include mail_merge capabilities with the Event Calendar & E_Mail functions. You can save the text of an event in a text template along with mail_merge tags. When an e_mail is sent, we'll replace the mail_merge tags with information from the Mun_Ease database. To view these capabilities, choose the File | Calendar Events | Edit/add/delete menu option (Base module).

We have changed the calculation for the weighted average maturity (WAM) that is inserted in the 8038G and 8038 tax forms. This calculation has changed only in situations when there are maturities in the bond issue that meet the yield_to_call (YTC) tests as described in section 1.148.4(b)_3. The new calculation will ALWAYS use the maturity date for the WAM calculation. Previously we used the call date in the WAM calculation if a maturity met the arbitrage YTC test. We now include the WAM and arbitrage NIC calculation when you create a variable rate bond issue through the file | notes & variable rate bonds | create/edit/delete menu option (Base module).

We added new features that facilitate the data entry of draw_down loans. These loans are entered through the file | notes/variable rate bonds | variable rate bonds | new menu option (Base module).

We added two new features for creating and maintaining notes. The first feature allows you to size a note with a negative amortization feature. The second feature allows you to re_amortize an existing note over a longer or shorter period of time (Base and Sizing modules).

New Post-Issuance Features - We now include new post-issuance options to display individual or combined debt service schedules for reporting purposes that are net of disbursements from capitalized interest funds and crossover escrow accounts. These reports display a separate column for disbursements from the capitalized interest fund or crossover escrow account. Note though that debt service schedules generated for the purpose of calculating the true interest cost (TIC) and arbitrage yield limit do not show these disbursements.

Background _ When you create a new-money bond issue in our Sizing module, Mun-Ease provides an option to include capitalized interest/principal as a use of funds. This feature also includes the ability to gross or net-fund capitalized interest funds. Similarly, in a crossover defeasance, Mun-Ease will structure an escrow account of investments that can be used to pay the debt service of the refunding issue until the refunded bonds are called. While the Sizing and Refunding modules have always had these capabilities, we did not (until recently), have features in place to show disbursements from a capitalized interest fund or a crossover escrow account in the Stand-Alone Reporting module (Base and Stand-Alone Reporting Modules).

We have added three new reports to the Stand_Alone Reporting module that can be inserted into your annual CAFR. Report #97a is called the Outstanding Debt by Coupon Rate. It aggregates your debt by coupon rate and provides a one_page summary of these statistics. Report #4a provides a report showing yearly principal, interest, and debt service payments along a with yearly payout percentages. The yearly payout percentages are equal to the yearly principal payments divided by the original indebtedness. Report #4b displays yearly debt service and segrates the debt semi_annual interest payments into separate columns (Stand-Alone Reporting Module).

We added new menu options to track bond authorizations under the maturity_by_maturity allocations menu. Mun_Ease will calculate the amount of bonds issued under the authorization and will determine that amount that is authorized but unissued. We provide two reports. One report is by detailed authorization and the other report provides summary totals up to highest level in the allocation coding block (Allocations module).

We have new reports to the maturity_by_maturity allocations module. The reports display beginning and ending indebtedness along with two columns showing semi_annual debt service in the first and second halfs of each fiscal year. We've modified the one_year indebtedness report to display a range of coupon rates for the allocations within a bond issue (Allocations module).

We added new input windows for the allocations | maturity_by_maturity | reports | refunding candidates report and the allocations | maturity_by_maturity | reports | refunding non_candidates report menu options. We now include options to specify a date range and an option to excluded maturities that have already been refunded (Allocations module).

We enhanced the Remap function in the Allocations module. The Remap function renames a group of allocations defined by you. This process can be lengthy depending upon the number of allocations that you are renaming. The 12.33 version allows you to terminate this process before it has ended by pressing the Cancel button on the Progress window (Allocations module).

We added two new rebate transaction reports that are generated when you press the Reports button in the rebate transactions grid. Report 27c displays running totals for each Group ID and Report 27d displays running totals for each rebate type of transaction (nonpurpose or purpose) (Arbitrage module).

We added a new feature for tracking bonds under the act that authorized their issuance(s). Report #58b displays the authorization and a list of bonds that have been issued under that authorization. We display the amount originally issued and the amount of outstanding indebtedness as of the beginning of the current fiscal year (Allocations module).

We added new features to the Crystal report packages that are included the Arbitrage, Sizing, and Refunding modules. The report package now includes a table of contents. (Previously, the table of contents was generated separately from the report package.) We modified the subreports in the report packages to include additional group headers. These group headers have programmatic attributes that allow them to act as page headers. (Sizing, Arbitrage, and Refunding modules).

We added three new features and reports to the Refunding Module. (a) The refunding analysis now includes a summary report of the refunded bonds (#98). (b) We added new features that allow for a more flexible treatment of the outside sources and uses of funds. (c) We now provide an option to wrap the refunding issue's debt service around the outside source of funds. By wrapping the refunding issue's debt service around the outside source of funds, the issuer obtains access to the outside source of funds that would not ordinarily be available to him. These funds are released from the refunding by increasing the first year's savings calculation by an amount equal to the outside source of funds. (Refunding module).