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PA Finance Department earns award

The Government Finance Officers Association has presented Port Arthur with its Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for 2017.

The award is given zto the city government in general and the Finance Department in specific for satisfying “nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation,” according to notification given the city by the Chicago-based organization. It’s the first time the city has received the award.

“The whole department is proud,” said Andrew Vasquez, finance director. “The whole city should be.

“I think people are going to notice it’s our first time.”

Vasquez joined the city government about 10 months ago. The award comes after the city struggled for several years to produce a budget document in timely fashion.

Vasquez credited assistant finance directors Kandy Daniel and Harold Hankins for their work on the project, produced as a document Oct. 1, 2017. The document outlines the city budget for fiscal year 2018.

“In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as a financial plan, as an operations guide, and as a communications device,” the GFOA said in notifying the city. Port Arthur was proficient in all four areas, mandated for the honor, and in 14 mandatory standards within those categories.

The Budget Awards Program has more than 1,600 participants.

“Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other government throughout North America,” the organization said.

Vasquez said in presenting the budget, the department kept it simple and stressed clarity.