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February 1, 2016
CATAWBA COUNTY BUDGET OFFICE WINS 27TH STRAIGHT NATIONAL AWARD

(L to R) Budget and Management Analyst Paarth Mehta; Budget Manager Jennifer Mace; Budget and Management Analyst Barron MonroeFor the twenty-seventh consecutive year, Catawba County’s Budget Office has been recognized by its peers for producing a budget document which is easy to read and understand.

The County Budget Office has won the 2015 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). This award recognized the County’s Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget. Staff from the Budget Office were formally recognized by the Catawba County Board of Commissioners at its meeting on Monday, February 1, 2016.

"I am pleased to notify you that the County of Catawba has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award," GFOA Executive Director Jeffrey L. Esser said in a letter to the County. "This award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting and represents a significant achievement by your organization."

Only 1400 local governments across the United States received the award this year. The Government Finance Officers Association is a non-profit professional association serving more than 17,000 government finance professionals throughout North America.

The award is presented to governmental units which, according to the GFOA, "reflect the commitment of the governing body and staff to meet the highest principles of governmental budgeting." In order to receive the award, Catawba County’s Budget Office had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well a government's budget serves as:

• a policy document
• a financial plan
• an operations guide
• a communications device

Budget documents must be rated "proficient" in all four of these categories to receive the award.

“Catawba County was one of the first in the State of North Carolina to apply for and receive this award twenty-seven years ago,” said Jennifer Mace, the County’s Budget Manager, seen in the center of the photo above. “Although receiving it is not new for us, it’s not something we take for granted. Each year, the GFOA’s award review committee makes recommendations for improvements to our document, so we must weigh these recommendations against our goal of providing useful information for the general public that is easily understood. It’s an ongoing process of constant change and improvement.”

Catawba County's annual budget is created through a year-long planning process involving department heads, the Budget Staff, County Manager Tom Lundy and the Board of Commissioners. Budget staff members recognized for this budget included Mace, and Budget & Management Analysts Barron Monroe (at right in the photo) and Paarth Mehta.