County budgets are prepared to face financially uncertain times and maintain services for residents
The County of Nevada has been recognized for excellence in budgeting. The County has been awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for County Fiscal Year 2019/20, the fifth time receiving the award.
The Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards are given to state and local governments who have prepared budget documents of the very highest quality and reflect both the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the GFOA’s best practices on budgeting.
Budget Planning during Fiscally Uncertain Times
It is a top Board of Supervisors priority to maintain fiscal stability and core services. The Board has been planning and preparing for a recession or emergency through continued prudent budget practices and best practice fiscal management.
“The Board of Supervisors policies, such as fund balance policy and budget policies, have strengthened the County’s reserves and put the County in a strong position to face this challenge,” said Alison Lehman, County Executive Officer. “We are bringing focus to how we can support local businesses and upcoming recovery efforts while continuing to maintain core County services, meet Board Priorities, maintain the safety of staff and the public.”
During these financially uncertain times and the economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the County is anticipating adjustments to expenditures and use of some fund balances that have been built up for these difficult times, but does not project major fluctuations in levels of service or staffing impacts. However, fund balances for the General Fund and Special Revenue funds used by core departments have increased since the Great Recession to support critical programs.
“There remains significant uncertainty about how long and deep this recession will be,” said Martin Polt, Chief Fiscal Officer. “The County’s preliminary analysis estimates sales tax and other economically dependent revenues will be reduced between 30% to 40% for a four to six-month period.”
Financial management policies adopted by the Board in past years, including Fund Balance Reserve Policy and Pension Management Policy, have provided a framework for prudent fiscal management and financial health.
To help prepare for future recessions and times of fiscal uncertainty, the County strengthened its Pension Plan with proactive decisions going back to 2006, including employees paying their full share of contributions, early adoption of retiree health insurance pre-funding and eliminating that benefit in 2008, implementing three tiersof benefits, and funding the Pension Trust Fund to be used to assist in stabilizing pension costs. During the last economic downturn, the County also reduced the total number of employees through attrition and staffing trends have since been stable.
“These policies have been recognized as best practice,” added Mr. Polt. “In our most recent debt issuance, these practices helped improve our debt rating from A+ to AA, a rating that is hard to receive for small counties. This lowered our interest rate saving taxpayer dollars.”