Tony Sims


Local budgets are the key responsibility of elected and appointed leaders, as are ultimate control over how tax dollars are allocated, and which services are provided to the citizens. Nowhere else is leadership more important than during budget preparation. However, local budgeting is typically more an annual event than an ongoing efficient and effective process. By implementing a budgeting process and preparing a budget in accordance with the criteria required by the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Program and earning the award, local governments can create more efficient and effective operations, improve public trust, and have better control over taxes while increasing services. This article will show both a comparison of Chambers County’s budgeting process between the past and the present, and the advantages versus the disadvantages of a GFOA award winning budget. Advantages include improving the budgeting process, focusing more on priorities, providing a better understanding of operations for all stakeholders, and improving operational performance. Disadvantages discussed are staff commitment, cost, and the need for change. This article provides sufficient evidence to suggest that Chambers County and its stakeholders benefited from the county formally adopting the requirement to earn the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award as part of their annual budget policy. Other local governments should consider working toward the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.



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