It's one of Town Administrator John Coderre's proudest moments during the year. Giving props to his administrative and financial staff, Coderre announced that once again Northborough has earned the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its FY2013 budget.
As GFOA explains, the award represents a significant achievement by the town. It 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 town 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 and a communications device.
"This is something we've almost come to expect," said Coderre. "This is the highest award that a municipality can recieve in public budgeting, and it is based on continuous improvement. We send it to this program and they take it and mail it to reviewers all over the country and they tear it apart. They tell you where you've done well, and where you need to improve."
Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and the 14 mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award. For budgets including fiscal period 2011, 1,289 entities received the Award. Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.
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 has been presented to the town’s financial team, which consists of Town Administrator John W. Coderre, Assistant Town Administrator Kimberly Hood, Finance Director June Hubbard-Ward, and Town Accountant Jason Little.
This is the third year in a row Northborough has received the award.
"The best thing about this is that you can achieve it but if you don't improve on it, you won't get it again," said Coderre, who said that 351 municipalities in the state had received it, but only seven have received the award multiple times. Others are Brookline, Cambridge, Springfield, Concord and Salem.
"We're smaller and our budget it significantly smaller," said Coderre. "It's important because it means that these folks [the Northborough financial team] wear multiple hats. It's because of their dedication and that they are self-driven to do excellent work. They are energized by this concept of continuous improvement."
The Government Finance Officers Association is a nonprofit professional association serving more than 17,400 government finance professionals throughout North America. The GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national award program in governmental budgeting.
The GFOA established the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program in 1984 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 and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.
Documents submitted to the Budget Awards Program are reviewed by selected members of the GFOA professional staff and by outside reviewers with experience in public-sector budgeting.