For the first time, the city of El Dorado received the Government Finance Officer’s Association of the United States and Canada’s (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.
While the city has received a finance award for many years, this is the first year they applied for this award. The city had had a budget book in the past, but it was not that extensive, and did not meet the requirements of this award.
Assistant Finance Director Jared Cobb decided to change that this year.
“I have worked for three other communities and I was familiar with the award,” he said. “It really allows residents to be more involved in the budget process.”
Tammy Schaffer, finance director, said the goal was to have more information available for the public and to make it more user friendly.
The award represents a significant achievement by the entity and reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.
To achieve the award, the city had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These assess how well the budget serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communications device. Budget documents had to be rated “proficient” in all four categories and the 14 mandatory criteria within those categories.
“This is the budget equivalent for the finance award,” Cobb said. “We have received that every year since 1977.”
The budget document is divided into six sections, with each having a clearly defined purpose.
“For example, one section explains the budget process and its guiding policies; another section introduces the reader to our departments, including their mission, goals and accomplishments; and yet another shows the city’s future plan for capital improvements and debt,” Cobb said.
It also includes practices and a budget calendar, so the public will be aware of the opportunities to voice their priorities to the City Commission.
Accountability also is a part of it.
“The capital improvement plan is in there, as well as a section on debt, which was not included before, and the fund balance,” Cobb said.
There also are a lot of graphics included. PEC donated its time to create the cover and dividers for the book.
Cobb said it took two to three months on and off to complete the document.
“After this it is just a matter of keeping everything updated,” he said.
For those who would like to view the document, an electronic copy can be found on the city’s Web page at 360eldorado.com and hard copies are available at Bradford Memorial Library and City Hall.
Page 2 of 2 - Editor’s note: Friday was Cobb’s last day with the city. He accepted a position with another city.