Submitted by City of Yelm

The City of Yelm was recently awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for an exceptional budget document, marking the second year in a row that the City achieved this honor.

The City first received the Distinguished Budget Award for the 2018 budget after developing a new format with narrative, charts and graphs to provide context that made it easy to access and understand. It also included the City’s first financial policies and prioritized funds to hire additional police officers, a development review engineer, construct new sidewalks to keep kids safe, and invest more resources to care for our parks and aging infrastructure. The first award-winning budget was passed with only one dissenting vote.

“Our team has worked incredibly hard to turn a software printout into a comprehensive, guiding document, consistent with the City’s mission, vision and values that we recently established together,” City Administrator Michael Grayum said. “It’s been a team effort, dating back to the effort of Sandi Hines who worked with us to retool our budget and put into a format that met professional standards, defined by the GFOA.”

The award represents a significant achievement by the City and reflects the commitment of the staff members and governing body to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.

In order to receive the budget award, the City had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines to assess how effectively the budget serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications device. Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and in the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories to receive the award.

“It takes all of us working together to make progress,” Grayum said. “I’m proud of the management team, especially Heidi MacDonald who worked to reconcile past accounts dating back three years before She arrived at the City to ensure the accuracy of the City’s bank statements, which was affirmed in the clean audit the City received from the Washington State Auditor’s Office.”

Yelm is one of less than 1,700 cities nationwide who participate in the Budget Awards Program. The most recent budget award recipients, along with their corresponding budget documents are posted quarterly on the GFOA’s website. Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America

The 2019-2020 biennial budget is the first two-year budget the City of Yelm has developed in recent history, providing a better long-term revenue and expenditure forecast, while continuing to focus on enhancing the City services, the quality and safety of our workforce and strengthening community partnerships.

Responsible budgeting has enabled the city to add seven positions over the last two years, including three additional police officers and other essential staff to increase efficiency of the City.

“We have an excellent team of dedicated employees and great participation from our City Council members on the Finance Committee whose participation was invaluable in the unanimous adoption of this budget,” Mayor JW Foster said. “We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplished together already and look forward to a bright future ahead.”

The GFOA advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources and practical research for more than 20,500 members and the communities they serve.

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