Article By: Douglas Graves Special to the Bethlehem Press
Gretchen Naso, a principal officer from RKL LCC, briefed commissioners on the a five-year financial forecasting model at the Nov. 21 meeting. She analyzed the 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 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.
She 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 forwarded recommending approval of several bills with final votes scheduled for the next meeting.
Among those were bills that 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 bill.
Another bill that will address a pet peeve of the Commissioners is one that will require an electronic copy of the County’s annual budget to be provided along with the written copy. The bill is sponsored by Commissioners Holt and Michael Schware.