Catasauqua Press

Sunday, December 17, 2017

County commissioners view five-year financial plan

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Local News

Gretchen Naso, a principal officer from RKL LLP, briefed Lehigh County Board of Commissioners on a five-year financial forecasting model developed for aid in future planning at the Nov. 21 meeting. Naso’s plan analyzed the county’s finances for the last five years to give the borough an idea of how financial decisions today may affect the future.

“One of our goals was to allow commissioners to take the financial information that’s out there and kind of distill it until it becomes more manageable,” Naso said.

The plan, she said, will allow commissioners to do financial trend and historical analysis. Naso said RKL had met with the Lehigh County departments and tried to understand what drives their financial decisions. The plan, according to Naso, is based on an analysis of 1,200 different accounts.

She described her plan as a “beta number two” and would welcome any comments prior to delivering a final report.

The plan was presented in several parts to include pension fund payments and other employee expenses. The plan allows commissioners to plug in assumed expenditures to help them see potential future effects.

Commissioner Brad Osborne praised the plan.

“This will help us see the downstream effect of financial decisions,” he said.

In other business, commissioners heard and forwarded recommending approval of several bills, with final votes scheduled for the next meeting.

Among those were bills that approve a professional services agreement with the Lehigh County Historical Society.

“They are outstanding in their field,” said Commissioner Amanda Holt, one of the sponsors of the bill.

Another bill will address a complaint of commissioners. It will require an electronic copy of the county’s annual budget to be provided along with the written copy. The bill is sponsored by Commissioners Holt and Michael Schware.