County Comment/County Wins Highest Government Award

by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

Washington County’s Department of Budget and Finance has won the nation’s highest and most prestigious honor for its budget processes, development and presentation.
In its November 2nd regular meeting, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners’ President Greg Snook presented Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian and all members of that department with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).
A letter from GFOA Technical Services Center Director said, “This is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting and represents a significant achievement by your organization.”
The award reflects the commitment of the governing body to meeting the highest principles of government budgeting, GFOA said. In order to receive the recognition Washington County had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. The guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device. Budget documents had to be rated as proficient in those four categories to receive the award.
In presenting the award, Snook said that no governmental organization in Maryland west of Montgomery County had ever been so honored. GFOA said the award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America. GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving 14,000 government financial professionals across the U.S. and Canada. GFOA began its Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program in 1984, and approximately 900 have been made over the 20-year period. The program is the only national award given in government financing.