Donna recognized for budget adopted last year

DONNA — The Government Finance Officers Association this month recognized the city with the distinguished budget presentation award for its budget adopted last year.

It’s the first time the city has received such recognition from the association, which reviews the budget and scores it based on a set of criteria from financial summaries to policy.

“We’re extremely excited,” said Director of Finance David Vasquez, who has headed the city’s finance department for six years.

Vasquez submitted the city’s budget to the association for review and heeded its past recommendations. The association reviews the budget which must serve as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communication device, according to a news release by the association.

“Based upon their critique, we try to learn from it and implement the things that they wanted us to do,” Vasquez said.

The budget intends to “meet the city council’s goals for service to the citizens of Donna,” according to the document adopted by the city council in September 2017.

Though the city was recognized for the 2017-18 budget document itself, the city has been financially solvent during recent fiscal years, according to Vasquez.

So far, the city council has not made any budget amendments, but will likely do so before the end of the fiscal year. Meaning, the adopted budget that received the recognition could change through the amendment process.

Vasquez said the city was “$128,000 in the black” at the end of fiscal year 2017, though the association does not specifically look at the city’s financial standing itself.

“In fact, we’ve been in the black for at least four years,” Vasquez said. “So, we make sure we stay on top of budget.”

The city currently awaits a financial audit conducted by Brownsville-based Pattillo, Brown & Hill LLP.

The association scored the budget highly on budget process, short-term organizational factors influencing decisions, revenues, unit goals and objectives, and fund descriptions and fund structure, according to the budget review composite rating provided to the city by the association.

The city’s 2017-18 budget may be viewed at cityofdonna.org.