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New portal to quicken budget submittal process

Friday, March 4, 2011

(Photo)
Mary Jo Alumbaugh
The state has created a way of expediting the process of turning in budgets.

A pilot program, Indiana's Gateway for Governmental Units, was initiated July 6, 2010, with volunteers from eight counties submitting budget forms 1, 2 and 4B for review and ultimate certification by the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF).

"It's essentially an upload portal to speed up the submission for all budget information," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh told The Brazil Times. "We usually would e-mail the Excel files to the DLGF, but the Gateway will help tie everything together."

She added once the budget is sent to a field representative, it has had to be re-entered into another system, but with this portal, all the information will be accessible for various financial institutions.

"Whatever we enter into the Gateway, it becomes shared data not only the DLGF can see right away, but also the State Board of Accounts and State Auditor," Alumbaugh said. "This will definitely speed things up and make the process a little easier for all entities."

With the pilot program being successful, the state is fully deploying The Gateway, with all entities anticipated to be added by July.

"In September, when the County Council begins its budget hearings for 2012, we will be up and running," Alumbaugh said.

She also is considering participating in the Gateway Train the Trainer program, in which the DLGF is asking officials to coordinate and conduct local training sessions for their colleagues. The DLGF will provide the initial training and all the materials necessary for the sessions.

"I think it would be a good way to get some additional practice in using the system, and we would be helping each other get on the same page as well," Alumbaugh told The Brazil Times. "This also would not be a time to act as a financial advisor, it is simply to assist others in knowing how to locate the correct forms, as well as submitting information and troubleshooting simple problems."



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