Local government officials facing a dismal budget outlook during this drawn out economic downturn will soon get much-needed guidance with the help of Ohio Auditor of State Mary Taylor. Taylor today announced a statewide budget sustainability summit developed to provide local officials with ways to produce sustainable budgets that reduce the size and cost of government in Ohio.
The Summit on Local Government Sustainability: Strategies and Solutions in a Time of Fiscal Crisis will take place in Columbus on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
“This summit is designed with long-term, sustainable budget ideas in mind,” Taylor said. “The goal is to provide local government officials with examples of leading practices and budget solutions that cut costs and reduce the size of government to a level that taxpayers are willing to fund.”
The summit will identify local governments that are thinking outside of the box and collaborating with one another to cut costs without sacrificing services and programs provided to local residents. The summit also includes panel discussions and presentations on a variety of budget sustainability topics, which include:
- Identifying early warning signs of fiscal distress
- Budget forecasting now and years into the future
- Improving efficiencies today that could eliminate or reduce the impact of tomorrow’s financial problems
- Examining the issues related to the Auditor of State’s fiscal watch and fiscal emergency designations
The National League of Cities recently released a report indicating that the economic downturn is taking its toll on municipalities throughout the country. The report, City Fiscal Conditions in 2009, reveals that nearly 90 percent of participating cities are having a tougher time meeting budget needs in 2009 than they did in 2008 – and many are expecting that scenario to continue well into 2010, 2011 and beyond.
In Ohio, the Auditor of State’s Local Government Services (LGS) section is monitoring the finances of more local governments in fiscal watch and emergency than ever before. Taylor’s fiscal watch/fiscal emergency list identifies 25 Ohio townships, villages and cities – and one county – currently experiencing significant deficits. LGS is monitoring an additional 20 local governments facing potential deficits and tough budgetary decisions.
Earlier this year, Taylor’s office conducted a fiscal analysis of Scioto County that revealed a deficit of more than $3.5 million as of June 30, 2009. On August 19, 2009, she placed Scioto County in fiscal emergency. Located in southern Ohio, Scioto County is the first Ohio county ever placed in fiscal emergency.
Auditor of State Mary Taylor’s Summit on Local Government Sustainability: Strategies and Solutions in a Time of Fiscal Crisis will take place on Thursday, November 19, 2009 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Columbus Athenaeum, located at 32 North 4th Street, Columbus, OH 43215-3603. The cost is $15, which includes lunch. Participants will also receive 5.5 hours of continuing professional education credits.
The summit will draw on the resources of the Auditor of State’s office, several of Ohio’s local government associations, state agencies and leading experts in the area of local government collaboration.
For more information about the summit or to register, please visit: http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/conferences/default.htm.