Hutchings honored with IAC award

INDIANAPOLIS - Plymouth's Clerk-Treasurer Toni Hutchings has been honored by her peers around the state.

Hutchings received the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns’ Financial Management Award at the organization’s annual conference and exhibition in Indianapolis on Monday.

"It was a complete surprise to me," said Hutchings of the honor. "When they announced my name I was really in total shock. You have to be nominated by someone from your city and Mayor (Mark) Senter nominated me but I had no idea that he had. I am very proud and very honored."

“Despite uncertainty and gridlock at other levels of government, local government is getting things done," said Senter. "Due in no small part to Toni Hutchings’ leadership, Plymouth has its financial house in order and great things are happening in the city.”

The Financial Management Award is given to a finance officer or administrator who has made outstanding achievements in fiscal management, financial recording and leadership in public service. Hutchings, who has served as the city’s clerk-treasurer for nearly 18 years, was praised for her financial leadership.

During her time in office, Plymouth has experienced remarkable financial stability and growth. Hutchings has contributed to that stability in many ways and has helped to grow the city’s rainy day reserve fund to a balance of approximately $7 million. Beyond her work at the city, Hutchings has also given much to the community through her involvement with the United Way, other boards and local organizations.

"I think that I'm proudest of the fact that we've been able to get the city financially secure," said Hutchings. "When I put together my first budget in 1996 our operating balances were very low. We had to cut $1 million from that first budget. I learned a lot of things from that process and since then we really haven't had to make a lot of cuts (to the budget). We've put it together within our means."

"We've been able to build a strong 'Rainy Day' fund. Even though a disaster could be very costly we still have the ability to get through a lot with that fund."

Hutchings also served as a member of former Auditor of State Connie Nass' advisory board.

"I'm very proud of having been on that board, but even more so I learned a lot from it," said Hutchings. "There were a lot of county Auditors on that board and I was able to learn a lot more about the job besides what affects the city."

Hutchings also looks forward to the future but realizes the challenges ahead.

"I want to help make sure we keep our spending under control and we have a lot of great projects underway I really look forward to seeing those through," she said. "Getting better interest rates on our investments has been really challenging. In the past that revenue has been very helpful, but in recent years it's been down for all of us.

"I'm watching the 'Circuit Breaker' for 2013. Eventually that could be a big challenge for all government."