Dollars and sense: SLC wins budget award

Salt Lake City has been honored by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the FY17 (current) City budget.

In conjunction, City Budget Manager John Vuyk and his team received a Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation, noting their contributions as the primary preparers of the budget.

The achievement is something of a habit for the City’s financial gurus. The City has been recognized for its budget presentation in this way for three decades.

“This award is recognition of the hard work and dedication provided by all those involved in the City budget process, John said. “It shows the City’s commitment to providing sound and fiscally responsible policies. The City’s ability to continue to achieve this award over thirty years shows the consistent use of the budget to help determine policy and present priorities, to residents and other stake holders.”

The Chicago-based GFOA is the premier professional association serving the needs of more than 19,000 appointed and elected municipal and state government finance practitioners. The organization provides training, products, and publications for government employees who serve their constituents with finance policy and management.

To be awarded, budget documents must be rated “proficient” in four categories, and in 14 mandatory criteria within those categories, said Todd Buikema, Acting Director for the Technical Services Center of the GFOA. The categories are designed to assess how well a city’s budget serves as:

  • A policy document
  • A financial plan
  • An operations guide
  • A communications device

“This award represents a significant achievement by Salt Lake City Corporation. It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting,” Buikema said.

“Our City’s budget preparation team continues to win this prestigious honor because of their commitment to the highest standards of fiscal policy and management,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Preparing the budget each year is a time-consuming and complex process. It requires incredible attention to detail and flexibility in dealing with many moving parts. I’m extremely proud of Finance Director Mary Beth Thompson and John and his team for their excellent work on behalf of Salt Lake City residents.”

In having his name singled out for the award, John is characteristically modest.

“Please understand this award is the result of many people helping to put together a budget book and is less to do with me than the hard work of others. My name is there as the contact but the credit goes to everyone who works hard over the course of the budget to make it great,” he said.

John has been employed by Salt Lake City for 18 ½ years. He has been Budget Manager since February 2015.

More than 1,600 cities and states participate in the GFOA’s Budget Awards Program. Honorees “have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America,” the organization’s Buikema said.

Mayor Biskupski’s recommended FY18 budget of $2.73 million is now before the City Council for review and adoption. By state law, the Council must adopt the budget by June 22. Public hearings on the budget are in process and residents are encouraged to attend and join the budget discussions. A meeting schedule can be found here.

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