Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Financial Reporting Keeps Transit Accountable

Anyone wanting to know how Community Transit really spends the taxpayer’s money can view the “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” (CAFR) on the budget page of our website. We just posted the 2010 version last week after the completion of our six-week annual audit by the Washington State Auditor’s Office.

Community Transit received a letter of congratulations for 16 straight years of clean audits from State Auditor Brian Sonntag.
“This accomplishment reflects the dedication of the Board and the staff to strong oversight of operations, good internal controls, and accurate financial reporting.” Additionally, Community Transit has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for 22 consecutive years.

The CAFR presents more than accounting data. It includes agency history and recent projects, key performance indicators like ridership, cost per mile and farebox recovery (how much of the actual cost of service is covered by passenger fares). At the back are a set of tables that take a 10-year view of trends in revenue, expenses, population, employment, fares and ridership (on our buses, vanpool and DART paratransit).

A summary of the adopted 2011 Community Transit budget is also posted on our website. The proposed 2012 budget will be posted in the fall, available for public review before it is adopted by the board. The budget documents are organized differently but have some of the same information as the CAFR.

All are pretty heavy reading (and a little depressing these days). But we want them to be easily available to the public and our public-sector colleagues. Indeed, having the CAFR and budget available on our website saves us money and time, since we used to have to print and mail many more copies of the documents.

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