Friday, February 09, 2007

Two Financial Indicators

Are American Fork's finances padded, as some have said, with fats and sweets?

Not so. But you don't have to take my word for it. Today I offer the words of two expert, third-party observers.

First, Angie Anderson of Hawkins, Cloward & Simester (the accounting firm which performs the City's yearly financial audit), as reported in the minutes from the January 23, 2007 meeting of the City Council:

Usually in an entity the size of American Fork there is temptation to exceed the budget. This year the City had not gone over budget in any of its departments and the City was to be commended.

[Angie Anderson] had been doing municipal audits for eleven years and it was only the second time that an entity the size of American Fork did not have a budget overage. It was very hard to meet that requirement. Mayor Thompson commended [Budget Officer] Cathy Jensen. Angie added that the employees were to be commended as well.

Our second witness is Sue Shea, human resources analyst for the Hay Group, the national firm which was contracted to perform a wage study for the City. The following is quoted from her report to the City Council:

During our analysis of job content, it became obvious that the City is staffed very lean, often asking one job holder to perform functions that are typically split between two classifications. As the City continues to grow, it will become necessary to split these duties so as to ensure the efficient flow of work.

Fats and sweets? I think not. Lean and mean is more to the point.

The challenge the City now faces is to maintain its lean and mean frame of mind even though it must inevitably expand to accommodate unprecedented growth -- growth which the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget predicts will shift the population center of the county from Provo to here, the north county area -- by the year 2050.


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