Palm Coast - The Financial Services Department consists of 19 team members responsible for the day-to-day transactional accounting of the city including accounts payable, billing and receivables, payroll, business tax and procurement. The department is also responsible for treasury management and cash flow, preparation of the annual budget report and the annual audit report to City Council, as well as participating in the Strategic Action Plan process which is guided by City Council priorities.
In fiscal year 2020, the team was faced with the same challenge as many others, to deliver timely services and maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The department's focus was on a smooth and fast transition to a work from home environment without interruption to city services. This goal was accomplished with cooperation from the city's Information Technology department and the dedication of the department's staff.
This highly qualified team also received numerous recognitions in 2020.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada announced awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Palm Coast for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2019. This is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
The department also received the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The award represents a significant achievement by the entity. It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the city had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well a city's budget serves as: a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications device.
The Budget and Procurement Division received the esteemed 2020 Florida Association Public Procurement Officials Award of Excellence. Earning this accolade affirms the city's procurement operation performances and practices are continuously improving and exceeding expectations in the areas including policies and procedures, staffing, ethical conduct, education, professional development and sourcing methodologies and use of automation and electronic commerce.
The department was a participant in the Strategic Action Plan team that received the ICMA (International City/County Management Association) Certificate of Distinction for exceeding the standards established by the ICMA Center for Performance Measurement in the application of performance data to local government management, including training, verification, public reporting, planning, decision-making, networking and accountability.
Also, the department recently received notice from Fitch Ratings, one of several credit rating agencies, that it announced its upgrade of the City of Palm Coast's utility outstanding obligations bond rating from A+ to AA, which represents an extremely strong rating. Fitch assessed the standalone credit profile (SCP) of the city's water and sewer system at 'AA' and also noted the rating outlook was revised from positive to stable. In 2019, Fitch affirmed the City's A+ rating from stable to positive. By having high ratings, this helps the city secure financing at attractive and lower interest rates, and thus, finance other projects at a cost effective rate.
For fiscal year 2021, the Financial Services Department continues to focus on maintaining the level of transparency and financial accountability that our residents have come to expect.
The Finance Department is excited to participate in the business process evaluation and improvement, an Enterprise Resource Planning project led by the City of Palm Coast Information Technology Department. The team expects to create efficiencies to better serve our residents.
They will also work diligently with our financial consultant to identify financial savings and opportunities by reducing the interest rates on existing liabilities and saving taxpayers dollars.
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