East Penn Press

Friday, October 19, 2018

LEHIGH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

Thursday, December 7, 2017 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Local News

Commissioners briefed on financial forecasting model

Gretchen Naso, a principal officer from RKL LCC, briefed the Lehigh County Commissioners about a five-year financial forecasting model developed for aid in future planning.

Naso’s plan presented at the Nov. 21 meeting of the Lehigh County Commissioners, analyzed Lehigh County’s finances for the last five years to give planners an idea of how financial decisions today may impact 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,” Naso said.

Naso said the plan will allow the commissioners to do financial trend and historical analysis. Naso said RKL had met with the 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 number two” and would welcome any comments prior to 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, saying, “This will help us see the downstream effect” of financial decisions.

In other business, the commissioners heard and recommended 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,” Commissioner Amanda Holt said. Holt is one of the sponsors of the legislation.

Another bill heard at the meeting will address a pet peeve of the commissioners. The bill will require an electronic copy of Lehigh County’s annual budget to be provided along with the written copy when released. The bill is sponsored by Holt and Commissioner Michael Schware.