Town earns national accolades for its budget plan

Woodstock recently earned national accolades for its annual spending plan.

Town Manager Reid Wodicka announced earlier this month that Woodstock had received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its current fiscal budget. The Government Finance Officers Association represents public finance officials in the United States and Canada.

“Pretty much anyway that we’re expending any public monies it’s explained in that document, so anybody can go look at it,” Wodicka said Monday.

This marked the first time Woodstock had received such an award and meets a goal Wodicka had set for the town when he took the helm in spring 2013.

Few towns in Virginia achieve the budget presentation award.

“So this largely represents the way that we communicate our budget, what our priorities and policies are, with respect to what we’re going to fund and what we’re not going to fund, and how we make those decisions and how the things that we’re doing fit into our overall goals for the organization,” Wodicka said.

Town Council adopted the fiscal 2015 budget in the spring and the spending plan took effect July 1. Municipalities have 90 days from the time the budget has been approved to submit the documents to the GFOA.

“We did a lot of work over the summer to get it into the right form,” Wodicka said.

The town’s budget document also includes the updated capital improvements plan. Wodicka said the plan played an important role in the town achieving the award. The GFOA reviewers gave some recommendations on how the town could improve its document.

The association looks for elements in a budget that make it a readable document the public can understand, Wodicka said.

“Of course you have to present a well-reasoned and clear sort of numbers approach to things,” Wodicka said. “A lot of this is just about making sure that this is a transparent document that the public or anyone who’s interested in knowing what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, all the information is there and available.”

The town’s submission this year built upon previous budget documents, Wodicka explained. The budget document not only shows Woodstock’s spending plans but also how the town estimates revenues and looks at debt. The town also included performance measures in its submission.

“That’s an important part of any budget document,” Wodicka said.

Wodicka credited other town staff members, including former Finance Director Mandy Belyea, for their work on the document that earned Woodstock the award.

The town has, for a number of years, received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program, or CAFR, Wodicka said. The town will likely submit its entry for the CAFR designation in the coming weeks for the association’s consideration, Wodicka said.

Visit http://tiny.cc/dfxfrx  to see the town’s current budget and capital improvement plan.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com