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April 3, 2014

Definitive financial policies in county conversation

MILLEDGEVILLE — Developing financial management policies is one of the most important things counties deal with, according to Paul E. Glick of Glick Consulting Group.

Glick and Baldwin County administrative staff began rough drafting a 40- to 50-page policy handbook. The consultant detailed the ins and outs of financing during Tuesday’s Baldwin County Commissioners’ work session.

“A lot of folks do financial policy, but a whole bunch don’t,” Glick said. “You are to be commended for putting the effort in. I think it shows good faith in financial management of your county.”

These policies are long-term planning that improves fiscal stability that contributes to commission and county staff continuity, Glick said Tuesday.

Baldwin County operates under certain policies.

“They aren’t formalized. That’s part of this process to be sure we are comfortable with what we have,” Glick said.

Obstacles to setting financial policy consist of resistance to long-term planning.

County administration can’t “wheel and deal” under strict proposed standards.

“We might put a little wiggle room depending on what the topic might be,” the consultant said Tuesday.

The county can have more input of the capital budget side looking ahead five to 10 years.

Commissioner Henry Craig, District 4, was excited about the financial policy talk.

“I look forward to participating with you and the other commissioners in developing the details of the policies,” Craig said. “One of the key concepts I heard you mention was a capital plan and how important that is to determine where we want to go.”

Department heads are vital part of capital planning.

“It’s competition because there is never enough money to fund everything in the capital improvement budget,” Glick said. “Just working on it is a good step.”

If and when county elected officials vote on financial policies, the document will also be available for change.

Glick suggested reviewing the policies each year during the budget process.

Craig hopes to improve the county’s financial reputation to get the best financing possible for future public or private projects.

Commissioner Tommy French, District 2, requested draft process updates so the board members can “be abreast of where we need to go.”

Glick and County Finance Director Dawn Hudson will continue their financial policy work for commissioner consumption at a later date.

 

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