The City of Huntsville received its 26th Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association in February, and the recognition has given the City ample credit for its accomplishment and ideas for improvement.
According to Becky Rowley, City of Huntsville Budget Manager, the award is granted based on the City’s efforts to make budget documents available electronically and easy to understand for both financial experts and the average citizen.
The City’s full budget for fiscal year 2012-13 is available for viewing on the City’s Web site, www.huntsvilletx.gov.
“We are very proud of receiving this award,” Rowley said. “We received several outstanding ratings, indicating that our documentation and formatting could be used as a model for other municipalities around the country.
“Over time, we hope to improve our ratings even more, with the goal of keeping all citizens well-informed about our budget and the financial considerations we make as a City.”
According to a GFOA press release, governmental entities who receive the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award must satisfy “nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation, assess[ing] how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device.”
Rowley said some of the highest ratings the City received pertained to budget presentation as a communications device to residents and other Web site visitors.
“Not only is our budget available electronically, but our scoring also indicated that it is easy for non-financial viewers to comprehend,” she said. “Basically, we present our budget in multiple formats, using graphs and charts for visual understanding and laymen’s terms for those who are not coming from a financial background.”
Looking ahead to the fiscal year 2013-14 budget, Rowley said the GFOA scoring provided two distinct areas where the City can improve further.
“One of our goals for 2013-14 is to provide long-term information, incorporating plans, goals, missions and obstacles,” she said. “We already include some of those items, but we want to expand on that information to earn an ‘outstanding’ rating.
“We also want to place more emphasis on the continuous operational costs the City faces after project completions.”
For more information, contact Rowley at (936) 291-5476.