Pelham’s municipal government has earned another accolade.

The Canadian Award for Financial Reporting, established by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), to encourage municipal governments throughout Canada to produce quality financial reports, along with peer recognition and technical guidance for officials, was bestowed on the Town Pelham earlier this month.

GFOA based the award on Pelham’s submission of its 2019 Annual Report. The organization provides professional development and practical research in government finance for some 21,000 members. Its review committee judged Pelham’s report to “meet the program’s high standards, including demonstrating a constructive spirit of full disclosure, designed to clearly communicate the municipality’s financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report,” according to a press release.

Mayor Marvin Junkin said, “I believe the value of this report is that everything is laid out in an easy to read format, so that all interested citizens can see at a glance the true financial status of the Town.”

Pelham Treasurer Teresa Quinlin. SUPPLIED

Treasurer and Corporate Services Director Teresa Quinlin said that Pelham’s 2019 Annual Report was the first one the Town has ever issued. She noted that it is “good practice” for a municipality to issue such a report, since it provides not only audited consolidated financial statements, but also the council members and organizational structure for the Town, strategic goals achieved in the year, and detailed statistical information and financial overview.

Highlights from the 2019 report include updating financial policies regarding reserves, debt, and cash management, the establishment of an audit committee and a utility sustainability committee, and the development of a capital asset strategic policy.

CAO David Cribbs told the Voice that the information in the report was already in the public realm, but that an interested resident would have had to read through copious documents and government files, and still wouldn’t have the value-added commentary, charts and graphs that the annual report presented.

“The significance of the document is that it reflects a philosophical emphasis, making it easy for residents to see accurate financial information about the Town — both the good news and the bad news — in one place,” said Cribbs.

“For the Town administration and elected officials to serve the community well, trust is necessary. Making all the key information easily accessible should help build that trust. We hope the community agrees.”