Mayor, council leadership eager to see financial plan begin
The city is in the phase of preparing to select financial firms as part of a new financial strategic management plan.
The plan, announced at a recent City Council meeting by Mayor Derek Slaughter, is considered by Slaughter to be “long overdue” as part of his commitment to ensuring financial transparency in city government.
Slaughter said the next step in the process will be to set up interviews with each of the firms that submitted a proposal.
“The interviews are in conjunction with the city having a state Department of Community and Economic Development representative as part of the interview process,” he said. “From there, we select a financial firm.”
The program is guided by a philosophy that establishes five specific measures that a local government, such as Williamsport, can take to manage its financial position and achieve or maintain its long-term economic viability, Slaughter said.
Those five measures are: Expenditure reduction; revenue enhancement; implementation of a long-term economic development strategy; adoptions of best management practices to achieve operating efficiency and pursuit of intergovernmental cost-sharing strategies.
The development of the financial plan the city is about to engage in is divided into six steps: A financial condition assessment; a financial trend analysis; an emergency plan for the current fiscal year if necessary; a management audit; a multi-year plan strategy and a multi-year plan implementation.
Such financial planning and financial security is expected to help city government better meet its obligations to the citizens and taxpayers of Williamsport, Slaughter said.
When asked about the plan, which was approved without dissent by council, Council President Randall J. Allison said the city met with department officials early last year before the pandemic hit and shut the program down at the state level.
“They were and are still very supportive of Williamsport going through this process,” Allison said.
“Now that the program is back up and running the administration and council expect things to move ahead very soon,” Allison said.
No more than $33,000 is needed from the city toward the match. The money is expected to come from a Community Development Block Grant, some use of River Valley Transit funds and, if necessary, liquid fuels funding.
This program provides matching grant funds to assist municipalities to develop comprehensive multi-year financial plans, and establish short- and long-term financial objectives, Slaughter said.