The Government Finance Officers Association

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The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) budget criteria framework covers 27 budgeting categories and was launched in 1984 to encourage the preparation of high quality budgets (Bland, 211). The following memo evaluates the budget of the City of Lake Oswego using GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Criteria, and also compares it to the budget of the City of Detroit. The City of Lake Oswego is primarily a residential community outside of Portland with about 37,000 residents. The city is growing at a rate of .2% annually and has a median household income of about $84,000. The average unemployment rate is 5.4% (“City of Lake Oswego Demographics”). In contrast, the City of Detroit has a population of 685,000 residents,…show more content…
Lake Oswego’s budget mentions its financial policies throughout its budget document, but it does not present information about financial policies in one place. For example, the Budget Process and Philosophy section states that “expenditures can never exceed available resources”, but it does not explain that Oregon law requires local budgets to balance their budgets (City of Lake Oswego, 3). The Michigan Budget Act similarly requires cities to adopt balanced budgets, but the Budget of Detroit does not mention this policy in its budget either. Neither Lake Oswego nor Detroit describe their budgeting process in their budgets, and neither document has a separate section that describes the city’s financial policies. Including a separate section on financial policy would make these budgets more transparent for the public. Lake Oswego provides a solid overview of its current economic indicators and financial trends (City of Lake Oswego, 13). It also describes unmet infrastructure needs and its plan to maintain assets instead of taking on new projects in its Budget Message (City of Lake Oswego, 1-2). However, while short-term trends are addressed, a more direct connection could be made between these trends and their specific impacts on the budget. Furthermore, the budget did not address the city’s
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