Oakland County garners budget award

The Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada (GFOA) has awarded Oakland County its Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its three-year budget for fiscal years 2013-2015. The county has won every budget presentation award for which it has been eligible since 1984 when the GFOA initiated its award program. The county is eligible for this recognition every three years because of its multi-year budgeting practices.

“Kudos to our budget team for a job well done,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “I would have no hesitation in putting our team up against any comparable team in the USA.”

The GFOA said it established the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award “to encourage and assist state and local governments to prepare budget documents of the very highest quality that reflect both the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the GFOA’s best practices on budgeting.” The award recognizes “individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.”

The GFOA ranks each section in four ways – the highest two being “proficient” or “outstanding.” Oakland County is never below “proficient.” However, this year several reviewers gave “outstanding” ratings on a number of items, in particular the budget as a policy document and as a financial plan.

“Real credit for this award goes to Lynn Sonkiss, Gaia Piir and the rest of the team in the Fiscal Services Division who really worked hard to put our budget document together,” said Laurie VanPelt, director of management & budget.

Oakland County is the first county in the nation to create a rolling three-year, line-item budget with a five-year outlook. Patterson calls it “thoughtful management versus crisis management” because the county’s budgeting practices allow it to identify potential budget issues on the horizon and solve them long before they become a problem. When reaffirming Oakland County’s AAA bond rating, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service always cite the county’s three-year budget.

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