Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Budgets are Good!

I like organizational budgets. There, I said it, judge me if you must.

And for our 8th consecutive year NOVA Parks has won the top honors in public sector budgeting. This is the Distinguished Budget Award awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). This award is not like an audit where they see if all the math is correct. It is much more than that. The goal for this award is financial transparency, or in other term, making a budget understandable to everyone.

In the old days a budget was just a tool to control expenses and forecast revenues. It was all about the numbers. Today a good budget is much more. It is a communication tool to convey the priorities and focus of the organization.

At NOVA Parks our budget is THE go to document. It contains both strategic goals, and operational goals for each facility. It has various measurable results for each facility. I has charts and graphs that show ten year trends for many of our major areas of focus, and contains an analysis of the current and future years. And in addition to all of this good stuff, it also has our revenues and expenses.

NOVA Parks is very unique in that we self-fund 85% of our operations. So tax dollars make up just 15% of our operating revenues. What this means is that we need to be much more business focused than most other park agencies. The national average for park agencies is that 73% of operations are funded by government tax dollars.

To offset the uncertainty of  not having a guaranteed funding source for most of our expenses, we are quite diversified. So rather than having all our eggs in one basket, we are in about a dozen different businesses that fit our park mission. The end result is the public gets an amazing deal from NOVA Parks. Fantastic destination parks, minimal claim on tax dollars, and wonderful services.

The link below is for the FY'2016 Budget for NOVA Parks:


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