Northwestern Press

Thursday, December 14, 2017

County board briefed on financial forecasting model

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

Gretchen Naso, principal officer of RKL LCC, briefed Lehigh County commissioners about a five-year financial forecasting model developed to aid in planning.

Naso’s plan, presented at the Nov. 21 meeting of the county board, analyzed Lehigh County’s finances for the last five years to give planners an idea of how financial decisions today may affect the future.

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

Naso said the plan will allow commissioners to do financial trend and historical analysis.

Naso said RKL met with 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.

Naso described her plan as a “Beta No. 2” and would welcome any comments before 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,” Osborne 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 to 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 legislation.

Another bill heard at the meeting will address a pet peeve of the commissioners.

The bill, sponsored by Holt and Commissioner Michael Schware, will require an electronic copy of Lehigh County’s annual budget to be provided along with the written copy.