Mayor's Corner: City Of Lakewood Awarded For Clean Audit And Budget Of Distinction
I’m excited to pass on some news about the impressive work our Finance Department team is doing for Lakewood. Next week, the State of Ohio Auditor’s office will attend the September 20th meeting of Lakewood City Council to present our city with the Auditor of State Award with Distinction. The Ohio Auditor is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies, and they present this special award annually to government entities that have met a series of stringent criteria to earn a “clean” audit report. This is a high bar that requires the utmost professionalism in financial reporting and operational performance.
For context on just how difficult it is to achieve this award, consider that less than 5% of all Ohio governments typically achieve this elite designation annually. Just preparing Lakewood’s audit is a major undertaking for our finance department each year, and to receive this statewide award speaks to the superior quality of our team and their relentless focus on ensuring that the City of Lakewood’s finances are in excellent shape. I want to pass on my sincere congratulations and gratitude to our entire Finance Department team – they are true professionals who do an incredible job for our city.
Having excellent audits and finance filings is critically important for our city. It shows how seriously we take stewardship of precious public funds. Our city’s bond rating benefits from this high level of performance, which in turn lowers the interest rates we pay when we need to issue bonds for capital needs, infrastructure, or other costs. Fiscal responsibility and transparency will always remain one of the key pillars for my administration, and I am fortunate to have an excellent group of professionals in City Hall to help advance this core principle.
September also marks the onset of our annual budget season here in Lakewood. Our budgetary process was recently featured in the August edition of Government Finance Review, as we concurrently received word that for the first time since 2007 the City has earned a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association, the national professional organization for state, provincial, and local government finance officers.
I look forward to working with my directors in City Hall to prepare a budget that is fiscally realistic and responsible while also ensuring that Lakewood maintains the excellent level of service our residents, businesses, and visitors have come to expect. I continue to have daily conversations with our team at City Hall about priorities and needs, while also doing the same with those who live and work in our city. Our annual budget is a key opportunity to ensure our city’s financial health, but also to align our spending with our future vision for Lakewood. I look forward to fine tuning a comprehensive budget plan and presenting it to Lakewood City Council in the coming months.