Guest Column: Kingman's books are open to everyone

Kingman has clean record with a long list of auditing agencies

Arizona Revised Statutes § 9-481 requires every city in Arizona to undergo an annual independent audit performed by a certified public accountant licensed by the Arizona State Board of Accountancy. The audit and the audit report must include all of the accounts and funds of the city, including operating, special, utility, debt and all other money or property for which the city or any department or officer of the city is responsible, either directly or indirectly.

The audits are conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The audit report contains financial statements that are in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles and set forth the financial position and results of the operations for each fund and account of the city.

The audit report also includes the professional opinion of the auditor with respect to the financial statements and a determination as to whether moneys received by the city are being used solely for the authorized purposes.

The city of Kingman has received the Certificate of Achievement in Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for the city's audited comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) every year. 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.

The CAFR has been judged to meet the high standards of the program, including demonstrating a constructive "spirit of disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story. To qualify as "comprehensive," the audit report must include all funds, account groups and component units of the city, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles as established by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. The audit reports and budgets are filed with the Arizona Auditor General's Office and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, which serves to protect investors and the public interest.

The city is also subject to audits conducted by the Arizona Department of Revenue, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Department of Transportation, and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The audit reports are scrutinized and reviewed in detail by the Arizona Water Infrastructure Finance Authority and credit rating agencies. The Arizona Auditor General's Office also evaluates and opines on the city's expenditure limitation report.

Standard & Poor's Rating Services and Fitch Ratings review the city's audit reports and adopted budgets on a regular basis in evaluating the credit worthiness of the city. Kingman is recognized with a 'AA-' credit rating and the rating agencies note a sound financial profile with strong financial management and conservative budgeting practices.

The city of Kingman's comprehensive annual financial statements, adopted budgets and monthly financial summaries are available to the public for perusal at any time. Paper copies are available at the city clerk's office and electronic records are available on the city's website in full compliance with Arizona Revised Statutes. The city of Kingman's financial well-being is a matter of discussion many times throughout the year, including agendas, workshops and other public forums, and the city council welcomes your thoughts and ideas on this highly regulated, audited and scrutinized topic.

Mayor Janet Watson and City Manager John Dougherty contributed to this report. Watson encourages constituents with questions about city finances and other business to contact her at 753-3499 or 753-8101 (office), Dougherty at 303-0893 or 753-8100 (office), or Loyd at 753-8120 or cloyd@cityofkingman.gov.