SPI receives Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

Beachgoers recline in the shade of umbrellas and canopies Monday along a beach on South Padre Island. Over the weekend beaches on the island were filled with people following the relaxation of Gov. Greg Abbott's shelter-in-place order and business restrictions on May 1. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Year after year, the quality of this coastal city’s budgeting continues to be award-worthy.

The City of South Padre Island received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year Budget from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

The award is given annually to recognize governments that meet the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program’s criteria and succeed in preparing budgets that excel as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communication tool.

This is the ninth consecutive year the City of SPI has received the award.

According to city personnel, the award represents a significant achievement and reflects the commitment of the SPI City Council and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.

A Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation was presented to the City of SPI Finance Department for being primarily responsible for having achieved the award.

“I am very fortunate to work in an organization committed to the highest standards of financial excellence and professionalism,” SPI Chief Financial Officer Rodrigo Gimenez stated. “All city departments have worked hard to achieve this award. I would like to recognize our Assistant Finance Director, Maria Herrera, for her contribution during the process.”

The City of SPI had to satisfy the following guidelines that are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves — a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device.

Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and the 14 mandatory criteria within those categories to receive the award.

As a nonprofit professional association, the GFOA serves more than 20,000 government finance professionals throughout North America

GFOA established the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program in 1984 to encourage and assist state and local governments to prepare budget documents of the highest quality.

More than 1,600 governments, such as cities, counties and school districts have been recognized for transparency in budgeting.

According to GFOA’s website, the program is undergoing a “modernization” of its criteria for budgets with a fiscal year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2021.

The decision was made because it has been about a decade since the criteria was last revised, and many forms of budget communication are now taking place outside of the budget document.

ahernandez@valleystar.com