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County Budget Development  

Budget Development and implementation at the county level may be one of the most challenging governmental problems in today's complex environment of enhanced public involvement, increasing demand for services, shifting tax bases, and pressure for reduction in government expenditures. The county administrator is often caught in an impossible bind. In addition to these problems that confront all government entities, there are those that are unique to counties. County governments must blend functions that look like those of a city with functions that look like those of the state. It is a big stretch. For this reason tools for budget development and implementation can be particularly useful to help the county administrator juggle the numerous administrative "balls" for which he has responsibility.

The ultimate challenge for the administrator is to keep the process of budget development rational, challenging, and realistic - and at the same time guide department heads to create plans that reduce cost and increase services. Not only does the administrator need to increase accountability for normal operating functions, but he or she also needs to engage department heads in a process of improving and expanding those very functions. It is a moving target and a tall order.

IMS Quantum Corporation specializes in creating budgeting and planning tools designed to help the county administrator develop and implement budgets that accomplish these objectives. By building an Integrated Planning Model that shows how each department accomplishes its goals and delivers its services, IQ enhances the power of the administrator and all department heads to develop better budgets, better measures of performance, and ultimately better performance.

The Integrated Planning Model is a simple, rational, integrated, transparent, "back of the envelope" quantitative tool that lays out all the functions of the various departments, the resources required to accomplish those functions, and the quality of services that are produced by those functions. Because of its flexibility, the IPM can incorporate a host of subjective issues that the administrator knows influences the success or failure of their operations but are difficult to quantify. IQ specializes in blending these more subjective aspects of planning into a complete picture of how and why a department is doing what it is doing. Without such a complete picture, misunderstanding occurs when plans and budgets are communicated to those with oversight responsibility. The IPM helps the administrator clarify his justification for a complex strategy, and it helps county councils understand these subtleties. IQ can help build a tighter system of shared understanding and support.

 
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