Zone 7 Water Agency was recently presented with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its two-year budget that began one year ago.
“I am proud of our finance team. They’ve earned this award by working hard every day to keep Zone 7 financially accountable to its customers in the Livermore-Amador Valley,” General Manager Valerie Pryor said in a statement.
For the past 37 years, the award has been issued to motivate and assist state and local governments with budget document preparation "of the very highest quality" that reflect both GFOA best practices and guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting on budgeting, and recognize government entities that succeed in reaching that goal.
The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award is regarded by many as "the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting and reflects Zone 7’s commitment to public transparency and accountability," officials said.
Selected members of the GFOA professional staff and outside reviewers who are experienced in public sector budgeting receive and evaluate documents that are submitted to the Budget Awards Program. In order to win the award, Zone 7 had to submit documents fulfilling both the award program and 14 nationally recognized criteria, and also excelled "as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communication tool."
Applicants are asked to describe their organization's strategic goals and strategies, short-term organization factors, financial priorities and issues, budget overview and process, capital expenditures, debt, revenues, performance measures, and both consolidated and fund financial schedules.
Specifically, the GFOA outlines "achieving a structurally balanced budget," along with "working capital targets for enterprise funds" and "fund balance guidelines for the general fund" among best practices for the Budget Awards Program.
The organization's standards for developing a balanced and satisfactory budget include adopting "rigorous policies, for all operating funds, aimed at achieving and maintaining a structurally balanced budget," while agencies should also "establish a formal policy on the level of unrestricted fund balance that should be maintained in the general fund for (generally accepted accounting principles) budgetary purposes."
Additionally, the GFOA looks for local governments that "adopt a target amount of working capital to maintain in each of their enterprise funds," and recommends they "use working capital as the measure of available margin or buffer in enterprise funds."