EDINBURG, RGV – The Chicago-based Government Finance Officers Association has given the City of Edinburg top marks for its financial reporting.
Todd Buikema, acting director of GFOA’s technical services center, sent a letter to Edinburg City Manager’s Office late last month.
“We are pleased to notify you that your comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended 2016 qualified for GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting,” Buikema wrote.
“The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”
The GFOA is a major professional association servicing the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. It is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and has an office in Washington, D.C.
The group provides top quality publications, training programs, services, and products designed to enhance the skills and performance of those responsible for government finance policy and management. The association is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with offices in Washington, D.C.
Edinburg City Manager’s Office received notification of the top award by mail on Oct. 3, 2017.
Here is a copy of the letter:
Government Finance Officers Association
203 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2700
Chicago, Illinois 60601-1210
312.977.9700 fax: 312.977.4806
September 25, 2017
The Honorable Richard H. Garcia
City of Edinburg
415 W. University Drive
Edinburg, Texas 78541
Dear Mayor Garcia:
We are pleased to notify you that your comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended 2016 qualified for GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
When a Certificate of Achievement is awarded to a government, an Award of Financial Reporting Achievement (AFRA) is also presented to the individual(s) or department designated by the government as primarily responsible for its having earned the Certificate. This award has been sent to the submitter as designated on the application.
We hope that you will arrange for a formal presentation of the Certificate and Award of Financial Reporting Achievement, and that appropriate publicity will be given to this notable achievement. A sample news release is enclosed to assist with this effort.
We hope that your example will encourage other government officials in their efforts to achieve and maintain an appropriate standard of excellence in financial reporting.
Acting Director, Technical Services Center
Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia was thrilled to learn about the award.
“The award is a certificate of achievement for excellence for financial reporting for last year. It is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. I think it is very important and very significant,” Garcia said.
Garcia said governmental entities are required to publish a comprehensive annual financial report. He said this must include all funds and all component units and must include an independent auditors report with its presentation in order to be considered.
“I am very proud and wish to extend congratulations to the well-educated and hard-working staff that deals with finance within the city, all the way up to the city manager’s office because ultimately the buck stops there,” Garcia said. “I am very proud of the work they are doing. I think it is very representative of what is happening in the city of Edinburg.”
Another example of the City of Edinburg being fiscally responsible, Garcia argued is that reserves are currently at 35 percent, as opposed to the recommended 25 percent. Garcia said the City of Edinburg has also been recognized for excellence in financial management.
“These awards explain why we have been upgraded in our credit rating by Wall Street. I think all of it ties together. It is very good evidence that we are being well run and that we are not, in fact, broke or drowning in debt or mismanaged, or unable to balance our budget, as some would have our residents believe.”
Garcia said it is not just the City of Edinburg that has been financially responsible. He said praise should also go to Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, an entity that has come in for criticism from some quarters.
“At the EDC, there was a lot of hoopla a couple of weeks ago, with some people trying to make the EDC look bad. In fact, the reserves at the EDC are at 80 percent. That means we have about $12.6 million in reserve.”
Garcia disputed claims that the EDC is in financial trouble and one of the businesses it has assisted financially, Santana Textiles, is in danger of defaulting.
“As I keep saying, the numbers don’t lie. The numbers are there. In fact, it was quite amusing, we had a number of media outlets express interest in Santana when all this hoopla came out. The news outlets visited the EDC, they looked at the numbers and they toured the manufacturing plant. Afterwards, they told us, the plant is fantastic and everything looks fine and dandy with the financials. They said, ‘there is no news story here, so we are not going to publish anything’.”