By MORGAN FRISCH

Recorder News Staff

FONDA — The Montgomery County Budget and Finance Committee will take a break from requesting monthly reports from department heads to let them focus on budget season.

Committee Chair and District 7 Legislator Michael Pepe said the topic was discussed during the committee’s meeting on Tuesday. He said Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort sent a letter indicating he wanted to adjust the submission of the departmental reports.

“The departmental reports will resume in October and from that point forward we would talk about the frequency of those for 2018,” Pepe said.

Legislative Chairman Roy Dimond said he feel the reports have been working out well, but decided in discussions with Ossenfort that department heads should be concentrating on the 2018 county budget. Ossenfort is slated to unveil the tentative budget on Sept. 5 and the legislature is set to adopt the final budget Oct.10 . The legislature will meet several times throughout September and October to finalize it before adoption.

“I think the reports have been working out real well,” Dimond said. “I talked with the executive about that and a number of other issues and we both decided it was best to concentrate on the budget for the next two months.”

Dimond said the legislature’s most important job is getting the budget ready for next year.

“Right now, it’s crunch time for the department heads to get their budget together,” he said. “They will present it to the executive, he will make any changes as he sees fit and in September present it to the legislature.”

Dimond said he will meet with Ossenfort again in October to determine what they feel is a satisfactory schedule for the reports.

“We give the executive the budget and it’s up to him to manage the day-to-day,” Dimond said. “We don’t want to step on his toes. We just want to know if there are some big ticket items that could affect the fund balance, that is what our goal is.”

The Budget and Finance Committee issued the request to receive monthly reports from departments in March. This was to ensure spending is on track. In the reports, the committee requested for the departments to answer if there were any unanticipated budget transfers, any red flags the legislature needs to be aware of, and if any of the items pertain, would they impact the fund balance.

“It was to make sure we were never blindsided by large requests outside of the budget that may affect the fund balance,” Pepe said. “For the sequence of months that we received them, there was nothing incredibly alarming about what any department head had put into their report. It’s really not to catch the little things, it’s to be prepared to catch the big things in case they happen. Certainly at this time of the year when (Ossenfort’s) department heads are working on their budgets. That’s something that is taking up their time and resources.”