The City of Centralia was recently honored by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), by announcing that the City has received the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its 2007 budget.
The award represents a significant achievement by the City. 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 City had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well the City’s budget serves as:
§ a policy document
§ a financial plan
§ an operations guide
§ a communications device
Included in the budget were a 50 page Strategic Plan which outlines the priorities of the City and gives citizens an idea of what long-term goals and plans are; and a 40 page Capital Improvement Plan that authorizes and provides the basis for control of expenditures in the acquisition of significant City assets and construction of all capital facilities. These two plans, along with the City’s Comprehensive Plan, will guide both policy and budgetary decisions each budget cycle.
The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving 16,800 government finance professionals throughout North America. Of this number, only 1,069 entities received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award (or 6%), with only 77 entities receiving the award from Illinois. This award has been earned by cities in Illinois such as Chicago, Peoria, and Champaign. The City of Centralia joins with Carbondale as one of 2 cities south of Interstate 74, and one of 6 cities outside of the Chicagoland area to receive the award.
This year marks the first year that the City of Centralia has applied for the award. The budget was reviewed by three randomly-selected independent reviewers from a cadre of GFOA qualified professionals. Those who reviewed the budget stated that it was “Outstanding,” an “Excellent first-time submission,” “One of the best first year submissions that I have seen,” “It was a pleasure to review this document,” and “Staff should be commended for obvious hard work.” City staff worked very hard to create such a valued policy document to Centralia which will guide the budgeting process for many years to come.