Alabaster receives Distinguished Budget Award

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – The city of Alabaster was recently recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1, 2020.

The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award is one of the highest forms of notoriety that a governmental organization can receive for its budgeting.

According to the GFOA, this award “represents a significant achievement by the entity. It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation.”

To be selected for the award, a city’s budget documents must receive a rating of “proficient” in four categories, which include how the city’s document serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and a communications device.

For earning the award, the city will receive an official Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation that acknowledges their participation in the program, and successfully meeting the required criteria.

Alabaster City Treasurer and Finance Director John Haggard said that this award serves as a reflection of the hard work of city department heads and employees who are making a commitment to using tax dollars in responsible and transparent ways.

“I tell them that we are not doing this to win any awards, but the guidelines for the award have also been proven to be the best way to prepare a budget,” Haggard said. “We ask our department heads to do a lot of heavy lifting, and because of this we can see the results of successful budgeting from start to finish.”

Haggard expressed that their goal is not to win any awards, it is a validating feeling to be able to see their efforts recognized, and helps to let them know that they are on the right track.

“Getting this award is very validating for the department heads. It helps them know that they are on the right path and it signals to the public that we are making every effort to responsibly manage our tax dollars,” Haggard said. “By putting these documents together and providing as much background as you can, we are helping the public to understand what we are trying to accomplish. It holds us all accountable, which is what we want.”

Alabaster receiving this award is unique for Shelby County, as they are the only city in the county to have received it. They have also achieved this award for the third year in a row. Haggard hopes that their practices will be able to encourage and provide a roadmap to other surrounding cities if they need help.

“Hopefully this will signal to other cities in our area that this is something that everybody will get on board with and adopt. It is the right thing to do to provide the best financial information to your residents,” Haggard said. “By putting these together, and providing as much background as you can it will help the people understand what you are trying to accomplish.”

Haggard said that citizens interested in finding out more information about the city’s financial documents can do so by visiting Cityofalabaster.com/293/Finance-Department.