The city of Goleta staff was on the money with its recent financial report, and now the city is reaping the rewards for responsible accounting in the form of an award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA),

For the second year in a row, the city of Goleta won the 2005 Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Goleta Assistant City Manager and Director of Finance Luci Romero Serlet said the award is given out to hundreds of cities each year by the GFOA, an organization of American and Canadian government financial officers. She said awards are distributed to cities that prepare the most accurate and interesting Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – an extensive economic report each city must prepare every year.

According to a city of Goleta press release, each CAFR is judged by an impartial panel of judges on its level of disclosure, clarity and interest for prospective readers.

Serlet said the award is proof of the city staff’s aptitude at financial reporting.

“We’re honored,” Serlet said. “We do it on an annual basis, and getting that award is validation for the manner we are doing it.”

The award carries extra weight for Goleta, Serlet said, because the city’s staff has been working hard to help the fledgling city establish itself. She said the city decided to enter the competition in order to gauge the quality of its financial reporting, despite the extra work applying for the award created.

“Because there is so much work, many new cities say, ‘Let’s wait because there is so much to do,'” Serlet said. “But we went ahead and did it. We wanted to do that to basically see what we’re doing and how well we are doing it. It’s totally voluntary.”

According to the GFOA website, more than 68 percent of the cities and 46 percent of the counties with populations exceeding 50,000 people usually submit CAFRs for the competition. The website stated that “the certificate program, which was established in 1945, is designed to recognize and encourage excellence in financial reporting by state and local governments.”

Goleta Mayor Jean W. Blois said Goleta’s CAFR won the award because the report was clear and concise.

“Well, our staff did a great job of filling out the form,” Blois said. “We have a staff that’s really good at putting in the right things, [and] we’ve done it neatly and on time.”

Blois said the award is significant for Goleta – which became a city in 2002 – because it is a positive endorsement of the city’s leadership.

“It is very nice to have the award,” Blois said.

Although there are no cash prizes for winning the certificate of achievement, Blois said she is delighted the city has been recognized.

“They just send you a nice little paper that you can put on the wall,” Blois said. “I think we will.”