City of Gary: Six Year Forecast

National Resource Network Gary, Indiana February 22, 2019 Finance + Operation

In 2017, the City of Gary applied to the National Resource Network seeking assistance in developing a multi-year financial plan to give them the tools they need to manage their budget effectively and proactively.

The City’s 2017 application served as the entry point for a year-long partnership between the City and the Network. Together, the Network agreed to assist the City’s new Controller transition into her role and ultimately provided the City with an operational assessment of the Finance Department in August 2018. The Network’s report outlined a number of recommendations to improve processes and the department’s organizational structure including:

  • Create an independent Internal Auditor that reports directly to the Mayor;
  • Centralize and reform the procurement process; and
  • Centralize and improve the City’s revenue collection process.

Upon conclusion of the Finance Department report, the Network extended the partnership to assist the city by creating a multi-year forecast of the city’s General Fund. This model provided two key insights to the city. First, it established a baseline projection that reflects Gary’s current fiscal condition, absent significant policy changes. But it also allowed for city leadership to make informed decisions on corrective actions to change the city’s anticipated trajectory and structural budget gaps.

The dynamic forecast was built to be easy to update and serve as an essential tool for city decision-makers to balance policy and operations goals in future years. At the end of the engagement, Network staff trained City leadership and staff to use the model and they have since adopted it into their monthly financial review processes.

The Network’s engagement in Gary was led by consortium member PFM.

City of Gary: Six Year Forecast