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KG government told to tighten belts for ’11-’12

King George department heads, constitutional officers and agency heads got the word last week to begin their budgeting requests for next fiscal year 2011-12 by not exceeding the budget amount they actually expended in 2009-10, the fiscal year that ended on June 30.
The school division received a separate budget guidance memo this week.
The budget direction came in a memo from Deputy County Administrator/Director of Finance Donita Harper, who added guidance from County Administrator Travis Quesenberry and gleaned from the Board of Supervisors.

The memo states, “As you are aware, the economy continues to face challenging times. The Governor has again projected shortfalls in revenues and made budget reductions to local funding for both the current and next year’s budget. The County Administrator is directing departments to prepare budgets for the upcoming fiscal year that continues to maintain the current levels of service, and that does not exceed the actual year-end expenditures for fiscal year 09/10.”
The memo instructs submitters to start with what was submitted last year and adjust it to ensure that the total budget request is not to exceed actual year-end expenditures for the year ended June 30, 2010.
Other instructions include the following information:
~ Budget submissions may have adjustments to individual line items.
~ If there is a need to exceed prior year actual amounts, a detailed explanation and in-depth justification will be required.
~ Grant funds must be included with revenue source noted.
Operating budget requests are to be submitted to the Finance department by Dec. 27.
Harper adds the information that Quesenberry will be conducting individual meetings to discuss departmental goals and performance measures. Those meetings will begin in January.
Harper noted in her transmittal that the budget to be presented to the Board of Supervisors will be reformatted so as to be based on the Board of Supervisors’ Strategic Priorities.
The Board of Supervisors went through a planning process a year ago. That resulted in unanimous adoption on Jan. 19 of a strategic plan containing mission and vision statements, along with a number of strategic priorities, reprinted below.   

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES:  
~ Secure Financial Future:  Continue to exercise sound financial management and build the county’s fiscal strength while minimizing the tax burden. Promote operational efficiencies through shared or merged services and the use of technology. Provide county services, facilities and infrastructure in a manner that balances expenditures with the expansion of the tax base.
Annually prepare and update Capital Improvement Program and develop priorities. Update and review the 10-year financial forecast model annually. Ensure strategic plan reviewed every 3 to 5 years.
~ Education:  Work closely with the school system to jointly plan county and school facilities, and to consolidate services. Support lifelong learning, public outreach and quality educational opportunities. Provide appropriate level of funding for operations and facilities.
~ Public Health, Safety and Welfare:  Encourage and promote volunteerism. Ensure that the availability of public safety services continue to meet the needs of the county.
Implement policies and programs that safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens.
~ Economic Diversification:  Develop an Economic Development Strategy that is consistent with the County Comprehensive Plan. Promote opportunities which foster new and existing businesses in commercial, industrial, retail, and office development. Identify and aggressively pursue economic development that broadens the county’s tax base.
~ Manage Growth – Rural Preservation:  The rural character, natural resources, history and beauty of the county will be preserved and protected. Minimize the impact of growth by ensuring that the costs associated with new development will have minimum impact.
Ensure private development and government operations are environmentally sensitive.
~ Customer Service:  Increase use of technology as a strategy to inform citizens about county programs, information and service. Promote accountability, innovation, openness and excellence in providing service to customers. Continue to increase use of technology to conduct county business.
~ Staff Development and Retention:  Maintain a well-trained and high performing workforce and provide county employees with the tools, skills, workspace and resources they need to do their jobs safely and well. Enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing. Promote a work/lifestyle balance.

Phyllis Cook
Staff Reporter

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