Westminster receives financial reporting award

The Government Finance Officers Association, which represents public finance officials throughout the U.S. and Canada, awarded Westminster a certificate recognizing financial reporting excellence.

“It feels pretty good,” said Tammy Palmer, the city’s director of finance and administrative services. “We appreciate the recognition by GFOA.”


The organization established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting “to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency,” GFOAs website states.

Westminster is one of 15 Maryland municipalities to have earned the award for its fiscal year 2017 financial report. There are 157 municipalities in the state, according to the World Population Review.

“I congratulate (Palmer) and Accountant Ken Lubega on receiving this recognition from the GFOA for their work on the FY 2017 CAFR,” said Mayor Joe Dominick, according to a city news release. “The award is a reflection of how they and the rest of the Finance Department team responsibly manage the City’s finances day in and day out.”

The national recognition for the city’s detailed financial reports is a testament to its efforts to be transparent — and it reflects the efforts of “everybody that deals with us in finance,” Palmer said.

“We’re a public entity, we’re a government,” Palmer told the Times. “It’s important that we are able to communicate the city’s financial records in a way that the public can understand and access them.”

Palmer’s Finance Department prepares the 140-page report, then the city’s financial statements are audited by certified public accountants. The report includes government balance sheets, statement of revenues, cash flows and statistics, among other items.

It even includes a list of the Top 10 taxpayers in Westminster, Palmer said.

The CAFR shows that Carroll Lutheran Village, Knorr Brake Realty LLC and Cranberry Mall Properties LLC paid Westminster the most in taxes in FY 2017. The businesses paid $290,631, $127,797 and $125,468 in taxes, respectively, according to the report. CAFRs from fiscal years 2015 and 2016 can be found on the city’s website.

“We are very proud of the work performed by our Finance Department staff for ensuring that the City’s finances are transparent to Westminster residents,” said City Administrator Barbara Matthews, according to the news release.

Next year, Palmer said, the city plans to further its financial reporting initiatives by submitting a Popular Annual Financial Report, which is a boiled down version of the all-encompassing CAFR.

The new financial report is meant to be 10 to 12 pages, tops, Palmer said. It should digestible for those who don’t have finance backgrounds.