Some taxpayers may do a double-take but city budget recognized with award

The City of Campbell River has been recognized for putting together one of the most successful budgets in all of North America.

The city’s forward-thinking, long-term financial planning efforts earned the city – and its finance team – a Distinguished Budget Presentation award for the city’s 2016-2025 financial plan.

The award is given out by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada to encourage best practises and outstanding budget planning.

Mayor Andy Adams officially received the plaque on behalf of the city at Monday’s council meeting and said the award is the highest form of recognition in government budgeting.

He said Finance Manager Myriah Foort, with the support of Corporate Services Manager Ron Bowles and Finance Reporting Supervisor Alaina Maher, were responsible for the achievement.

“The award is in recognition of exemplary practises within the (2016-2025) financial plan under a program created by Ms. Foort and her team called the financial stabilization and resiliency program,” Adams said.

The program includes annual budget parameters of a two to 3.5 per cent tax increase to fund the city’s operating budget, capital plan and new or enhanced services.

Its purpose is to allow the city to build up its reserve funds in order to provide service enhancements and undertake necessary improvements to aging infrastructure with ongoing stable funding instead of large one-time tax increases.

Mayor Adams said it’s been a pleasure to witness council’s ability to transition.

“As mayor, I am very pleased and impressed by how our city has responded to the new fiscal reality,” Adams said. “The award acknowledges the progressive changes we have made in moving our financial planning meetings ahead (from February to December), moving from a five to a 10-year financial plan and establishing a sound reserve policy that meets our capital asset planning needs for the future.”

This is the first time since the award was established in 1984 that the City of Campbell River has been a recipient.

The Government Finance Officers Association wrote in a letter to the city that obtaining the award is “a significant achievement and reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.”

The letter added that, “we appreciate your participation in this program and we sincerely hope that your example will encourage others in their efforts to achieve and maintain excellence in governmental budgeting.”

Adams said the award reaffirms that the city is on the right track.

“To be recognized internationally confirms that our financial processes are well-structured and staff and council is to be commended for ensuring our city is in an excellent financial position,” he said.

Council formed the award-winning budget in December of 2015.