Local Citizens have become more vocal about their rights to view financial statements. There are those that feel citizens pay taxes and user fees and should be made aware of all expeditures and revenues within their community. But there are those that feel the average Citizen is not sophisticated even to understand the complexity of local government’s operations. By opening the books to all citizens, some feel it creates uproars and tensions that create community problems and are costly.
Write a position paper explaining how information and financial statements should be presented to the local citizens. Review a few local community websites and indicate how the budget and finances are reported. Explain how you feel citizens could be educated and involved in the process of financial decision making.
Your Critical Thinking Writing Assignment submissions must be a minimum of 500 words, detailed, reflect critical thinking skills, include illustrations or examples, and supported by research and not simply opinions. You must include 3 references in APA format. Submit your Critical Thinking Writing Assignments in Microsoft Word format.
Local governments’ finance operations are structured in different ways.
Centralized – In this model, all financial functions are located in one department. This model is used to eliminate duplication and for checks and balances. If the fire department, for example, wants to purchase equipment, it must be budgeted in advance through the Finance Dept. and the bidding and procurement must go through the Finance Department.
Separated Budget Function – The budget office and finance department are separate. This model gives the cheif executive officer and department heads the power to budget for items and services as they see fit. The finance department is tasked with funding the budget and keeping track of transactions. This model reduces fraud but requires more staff which is difficult for small communities.
Decentralized – In this model, department heads are tasked with financing and budgeting for their area. This model gives each department the latitude to make decisions more quickly. However, this can also cause more duplication and competition for funds.
Depending on the structure of the local government’s finance operations, financial statements are prepared differently and shared with different individuals. Some may require GAAP to be used. Some may be more informal. Some may report only to the city administration; others may report openly to the entire population.
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