John Lawrence’s message from Feb. 5, 2018
Rumor has it that knowledgeable groundhogs saw their shadows on Friday. So that must mean there are six more weeks until county budgets are due. Each year at about this time all 100 of our county agricultural extension districts are working to complete their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. They have to meet requirements for salaries, travel, rent, office supplies, programming and other educational services. Did you know?
- Counties begin preparing their budgets in the fall as early as October, but more often in November or December. Initial budgets are prepared using our universal extension accounting system, Microsoft GP.
- Eventually, detailed budgets are rolled into summary form and must be entered into the Iowa Department of Management’s web-based system, typically in December. The IDOM site provides transparency so the public can easily view their county’s budget plan and tax request.
- At their January organizational meeting, each county extension council approves the new fiscal year’s budget, directs publishing in the newspaper and sets the date for a public hearing, usually in February or early March.
- When approved, the budget is marked approved in the IDOM website and filed with the county auditor by March 15.
But the work’s not over yet. At the same time they’re finishing the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, councils also are reviewing the current year’s budget and actual expenditures. If it looks like their expenditures will be higher than originally budgeted, they have to amend the budget, which has to be completed before May 31. Then they have to publish their annual report in the summer and begin an audit in the fall, and before you know it, it’s time to start working on the next year’s budget. We’re lucky to have 900 dedicated county extension council members making sure the county budget process runs smoothly throughout the state, all year long.
Save the date: Our ISU Extension and Outreach annual conference is March 26 in Ames and registration will open this week. I am really excited about this year’s conference as it focuses on two things that speak to us as extension professionals: service to others and networking with a purpose. We will hear from Michelle Book, president and CEO of Food Bank of Iowa, and get hands-on service with Meals from the Heartland. You will also have ample time to network with colleagues and learn about the different roles ISU Extension and Outreach plays in feeding people.
The theme of annual conference is WE > ME. For those who have forgotten junior high math, it means “we are greater than me.” As ISU Extension and Outreach, we are stronger, smarter and better together. We are a system of professionals with different training and skills, and if you don’t know the answer to a question, you are connected to colleagues who do. We provide a comprehensive approach to finding solutions to both challenges and opportunities for a strong Iowa. I look forward to seeing you March 26.
One final reminder: Nominations for ISU Extension and Outreach Awards are due at noon, Feb. 9.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach