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City of Alton receives international award

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) announced that City of Alton has received the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

The award reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy, document, a financial plan, an operations guide, a communications device.

Alton LOGOBudget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and the 14 mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.
When a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award is granted to an entity, a certificate of recognition for budget presentation is also presented to the individual or department designated as being primarily responsible for its having achieved the award. This award was presented to Finance Department, Finance Director Rosie Tello.

Although she was the award’s recipient, Tello was quick to point out that the budget preparation process is very much a team effort.

“Each department head prepares annual goals and outlooks which are a big part of the process,” she said.

The Alton City Commission also just accepted the annual fiscal audit report. It showed continuing improvement in the city’s finances.

“We should achieve our fund balance goals (90 days of reserves) by the end of the current fiscal year,” Tello said.
This has been challenging in light of Alton’s dramatic growth, which has seen the population go from 4,381 in 2000 to 15,497, according to the July, 2014 estimate of the U.S. Census.

The city has also made a concerted effort to lower its property tax rate each of the last eight years, making its rate of 45.40 cents one of the lowest in the county. Adherence to a well-prepared budget has been key to Alton’s efforts.

For budgets beginning in 2014, 1,491 participants received the Award. Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other govemments throughout North America.

The Government Finance Officers Association is a major professional association servicing the needs of 18,300 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other financial practitioners. It provides top quality publications, training programs, services, and products designed to enhance the skills and perfmmance  of those responsible for government finance policy and management. The association is headqumtered in Chicago, Illinois, with offices in Washington D.C. The GFOA’s Distinguished  Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.

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