County Adopts New Financial Standards

The county commission today discussed and approved new accounting standards for the next budget year that will adopt a more standard accounting methodology, making comparisons with peer counties possible (perhaps). For a full description, CLICK HERE.

Highlights included:

  • Adoption of GASB 54, reporting spendable fund balances in 4 categories, possibly providing more transparency. During the discussion it was stated that since Hillsborough is already using this standard, it was not possible for TaxWatch (or anyone else apparently) to compare the currently reported Palm Beach County reserves to theirs. John Wilson mentioned they have had numerous discussions with TaxWatch on the subject since the budget hearings and that TaxWatch now “understands” their reserves, but the county is going back and looking at each capital project balance in more detail.
  • Adoption of a “target” debt limit of $1200 per capita (which we are very close to at the present time). This is county only, not including SWA bonds. Additionally, debt service payments, exclusive of general obligation and self-supporting debts, will be no more than 5% of governmental expenditures.
  • A policy proposal to consider voted General Obligation bonds over non-voted revenue bonds for future borrowing. As you might expect, this was not very popular but Steve Abrams suggested that projects could be “bundled” to make them more attractive to the voters. Karen Marcus indicated that was done in the past for Parks and Recreation.
  • A non-specific proposal for departmental “Performance Measures” that could be used to compare to outsourcing alternatives and aid in evaluating department requests for increased funding. Bob Weisman suggested that there already were measurements in place but several commissioners were outright skeptical. Commissioner Vana thought that we can only take “baby steps” in this direction, but that measurements could also be used to consider “in-sourcing” tasks where the county can do it much better than a vendor. No examples were given.


5 Responses to “County Adopts New Financial Standards”
  1. Dale Gregory says:

    Commissioner Abrams forwarded me a copy of a performance measures document prepared by Mr. Weisman in April 2011. If this report is what he claims are the “measurements”, he has not establish productivity measures. The April report is a list of work activity volumes. It cannot be used to compare departmental performance.

    As to Commissioner Vana: The problem with Palm Beach County Administration is that it hasn’t even taken “baby steps”. It is stuck in the mud, holding on to old line thinking. It is time for a revival. It is time for a change in leadership.
    We do have plenty of funds to support critically needs services. Unfortunately we are spending the funds in the wrong places.

  2. Laura H. says:

    Thank you, TAB, for keeping we average citizens informed about the county budget, but I’m afraid we run of the mill people get lost in the “budgetese” language. So we ordinary folk rely on such brainiacs as Fred and Iris to watch out for us!

  3. Joe says:

    (Reuters) – Thirty large and profitable U.S. corporations paid NO income taxes in 2008 through 2010, said a study on Thursday that arrives as Congress faces rising demands for tax reform, but seems unable or UNWILLING to act.
    Pepco Holdings, a Washington, D.C.-area power company, had the lowest effective tax rate, at negative 57.6 percent, among the 280 Fortune 500 companies studied.
    The statutory U.S. corporate income tax rate is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, but over the 2008-2010 period, very FEW of the companies studied PAID it, said the report.

    This is the REAL problem…. it isn’t cutting the wages and benefits of the middle class any longer.

    • PBCTAB says:

      Note: Palm Beach County does not levy a corporate income tax. Please try to be relevant. That said, the fiscal problems on the local, state and federal level are from spending too much, not taxing too little.

  4. Joe says:

    The problem is, if taxes were collected fairly (corporations included) there would be less burden on the middle class. Hyperinflation drives costs of all services up. Fuel, vehicles, equipment, uniforms, books, building materials, etc…. all skyrocket. Meanwhile, essential services need to continue to operate efficiently, but loopholes prevent the proper funds to be collected. The wealthy have hijacked the true tea party from Dr. Paul’s 2008 campaign to excel their agenda. It’s pretty obvious.

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