Sussex County lands 18th award for excellence in financial reporting

GEORGETOWN — It now stands at 18 years — and counting.

Sussex County continues to reap the rewards of sound financial management, reeling in its 18th consecutive award for outstanding auditing and budgeting practices recently, just weeks after winning its second AAA bond rating.

Last month, the Chicago-based Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded Sussex County its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its 2019 comprehensive annual financial report.

The award is among the highest forms of recognition for governmental accounting and financial reporting. The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the association’s high standards.

The CAFR includes the county’s annual audit, showing assets, liabilities, equity, revenues and expenses.

It also contains information about county demographics and the local economy. That information helps those reviewing the report — such as investors — to better gauge the county’s financial condition.

“We have set a very high bar for ourselves, and we strive each day to abide by the highest accounting standards when it comes to managing the public’s money,” Sussex County Finance Director Gina A. Jennings said. “After 18 years, it might sound like a broken record, but it’s a tune we certainly enjoy hearing year after year. I am proud of our staff for winning this honor, and I am proud of Sussex County winning the continued trust of the people we serve.”

During Tuesday’s County Council meeting, Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson offered congratulations to Ms. Jennings, Deputy Finance Director Kathy Roth and the accounting staff “for their efforts in achieving this award.”

The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.

The program’s goal is not to assess the financial health of participating governments, but rather to ensure that users of their financial statements have the information they need to do so themselves.