By Anna Lothson
The Village of Oak Park received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officer Association (GFOA) for fiscal year 2013, which began Jan. 1, according to a village news release.
The GFOA, a nonprofit professional association that serves more than 17,500 government finance professionals across North America, called the award "the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting."
"This award represents a significant accomplishment for Oak Park," Village Manager Cara Pavlicek wrote in the release. "Preparing the annual budget is one of the most important administrative tasks we undertake every year. The Village Board has established the budget process as a priority and staff has worked hard to improve the budget document. It is wonderful news to hear that the organization's work has been independently recognized."
To earn the award, the Village had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. The budget was assessed as a policy document, financial plan, and operations guide and communications vehicle.
Craig Lesner said the award is a good step in moving the village's finances toward greater transparency. Pavlicek credited the village board and staff for its work, but pointed out that James Harris, the village's budget director played in key role in crafting this year's budget documents.
"Oak Park's budget is complex," Pavlicek wrote. "Compiling it in a form that can guide day-to-day municipal operations, and be accessible to taxpayers is the goal we set when the 2013 budget process began. With James' dedication, I believe we made substantive improvements to the budget process. As we begin the 2014 process in the next few months, we expect to continue the pursuit of excellence in our budget document."