published: Friday, January 11, 2013
County heads to biennial budgeting
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING - This is generally the time that Highlands County staff members begin plotting their budget for the upcoming fiscal year. However, this time it appears they will have an eye toward planning for two.
At their meeting Tuesday, Highlands County Admin-istrator June Fisher told commissioners she had been working on a timeline for biennial budgeting and a plan of action for implementation should commissioner approve the concept.
The idea of biennial budgeting has been a part of the commissioner's short term goals list for over a year. There was a presentation on such a policy last February and it was again discussed at the commission's last meeting of the year.
At that time, Highlands County Administrative Project Manager Chris Benson gave commissioners a powerpoint presentation on the budget process. The idea is to plan for budgeting and fiscal projections for two consecutive fiscal years.
Just like current one-year budgeting, allocations and other adjustments may be made as the process goes along throughout the year. The hope is that by planning for two fiscal years, there will be less of a workload by employees planning for their budget each spring.
Calling it an "extremely valuable planning tool," Fisher noted that although it would be time-consuming up front, there would be efficencies as the years progressed.
"I thing there may be some growing pains in this," echoed commissioner Don Elwell.
During the presentation, Hightlands County Commission Chairman Jack Richie told Fisher there was a consensus of the board to continue with the process, noting that he would like to see budget planning begin by the end of January.
Fisher told commissioners they could expect a full report at their next regular meeting on Jan. 15.
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