What is a Budget? County Financial Management at #MACoCon

County Budget Director Zaleski discusses mandated county budget expenditures.

“A budget is a legislative act, a policy document, and a process,” explained Carroll County Budget Director Ted Zaleski at the start of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Course, County Financial Management today at MACo’s Annual Summer Conference in Ocean City.

Director Zaleski serves as the President of MACo’s Budget and Finance Affiliate and is the immediate past president of the Maryland Government Finance Officers Association. More than forty county elected officials and representatives of county government attended the two hour course, which covered topics ranging from revenue sources, to on-going and mandated expenditures.

With perspective on recent economic events, Zaleski remarked that even if it is a relatively stable source of revenue, “following the recession, I will never be able to think about property tax the way I used to,” recalling five years straight of declining property tax revenues in Carroll County.

On expenditures, Zaleski said that a discussion of county expenditures is really a discussion of services. From that premise, a starting point of the discussion about expenditures is the services that county government officials choose to fund. His experience teaches that every choice to fund something is a choice to not to fund something else, and that elected officials are often faced with constituents with diverse funding priorities.

For more information about MACo’s Summer Conference, please visit www.mdcounties.org/MACoCon.