City of Columbia Receives Seventh Consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting
Dec 11, 2020

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to City of Columbia by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the seventh year in a row. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. 

Prior to this year’s notification, the GFOA has awarded Columbia the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. This is a further indication of the City of Columbia’s prudent financial stewardship over the last ten years, which has also resulted in budget surpluses in 8 of the last 11 years, lowered property taxes by over 12 mills over the last decade, and helped to revitalize the Central Business District, resulting in nearly $2 billion dollars in downtown capital investment.

“I want to thank and congratulate our Janice Alonso, Jeff Palen and everyone on our finance staff for their continued sound and thorough dedication to maintaining and accounting our City’s financial management,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “The Certificate of Achievement represents the most significant form of recognition in municipal accounting and financial reporting, and this continued attainment over multiple years signifies a substantial accomplishment.”

“After I was appointed as city manager in 2013, one of my first priorities was to focus on improving the financial health of the city. The work to build a better financial foundation began with the selection of the city's first chief financial officer and assembling a group of capable financial staff who value working with our departments to achieve our goals, while also remaining physically accountable and transparent to the citizens we serve,” said City Manager Teresa Wilson. “Receiving this award for seven years in a row, reassures me that we are continuing to take these fiduciary responsibilities seriously and we are doing the work necessary to achieve excellence.” 

The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

“The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of government accounting and reporting. Its attainment really represents a significant accomplishment not just by staff, but by the city and its management and everyone involved,” said Chief Financial Officer Jeff Palen. 

“It is an honor for the Finance team to achieve this award, as there is a listing of requirements that must be achieved in order for this to happen,” said Janice Alonso, City of Columbia Finance Director.