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Week 6 Steven Westfall


The City of Pocatello is a municipal entity with a population of almost 55,000 (Stroschein, Linton, Peterson, Lacey, Timpson, Bergendorf, Stearns, 2016). Every year it provides a comprehensive annual financial report. The CAFR is a financial report that is meant to be publicly available to inform the public, auditors, and investors on funds and accounts controlled by government entities (Mikesell, 2014). Government agencies are responsible to report financial dealings to their citizenry, legislative and oversight bodies, and investors and creditors (Genito, 2013). Budgets are important tools for public entities to show accountability with public funds and guard against public corruption, allocate resources for needed expenditures, and communicate program intentions (Mikesell, 2014).

Pocatello applies for the Government Finance Officer's Association certificate of excellence in financial reporting, and they have received the award for the past 12 consecutive years (Stroschein et al., 2016). Budget documents have to meet certain criteria to be recognized with this award. They have to have to a table of contents that helps people clearly navigate through the full document (this one for the City of Pocatello is 234 pages, so a table of contents is extremely helpful). The document needs to have a budget message that states the issues and priorities for the upcoming year, an overview of significant budget items and trends, organization chart, long term financial policies, summary of major revenues and expenditures, major revenue sources, and financial data on debt obligations, among other things related to budget and finance of the entity (Government finance officers association, 2014).

The city outlined some major initiatives for the upcoming year as improving paved roads, upgrading the water pollution facility to be in compliance with city permits, and updating, rewriting, and zoning land use ordinances (Stroschein et al., 2016). The city's CAFR was also reviewed by an independent auditor, Deaton & Company (who found the information in the document to be presented fairly and accurately) (Stroschein et al., 2016). This review is done to verify the assertions made by the city in its budgeting documents, and also helps with public accountability (Mikesell, 2014). Public entities have responsibilities to follow laws and fulfill mandates given to them (Mikesell, 2014). In this comprehensive annual financial report, the independent auditor found that the City of Pocatello was in compliance with all the major federal programs it was tasked to carry out (Strochein et al., 2016).

The assets of the city exceeded its liabilities at the close of the fiscal year . The city's main sources of revenue come from charges for services, grants, and property taxes and other taxes (Stroschein, 2016). Another function of budgets in the public sector are for organizations to show what the are using money on and what they need money for. It is another way to show they have public value (Mikesell, 2014). The city's CAFR outlines some of the functions that the different departments within the city provide. These vary from recreational programs offered to library services to public safety (Stroschein, 2016). The City of Pocatello's CAFR gives a good and detailed picture of the financial condition of the city and the services and value the city fulfills.

Going through the financial report, it appears that the City of Pocatello practices sound accounting practices, is in good fiscal shape, and is planning well for the future of the city. These documents serve the constituents of the area because they give a clear financial picture of their organization. They explain what they have funded with the resources they have been given, and they lay out what services they provide to the community.


Genito, M. (2013). Back to basics: An overview of governmental accounting and financial reporting. Retrieved from http://www.gfoa.org/sites/default/files/GFR_FEB_13_48.pdf

Government finance officers association. (2014). Distinguished budget presentation award program (Budget awards program). Retrieved from http://www.gfoa.org/sites/default/files/BudgetDetailedCriteriaLocationGuideFY2015.pdf

Mikesell, J. L. (2014). Fiscal administration: Analysis and applications for the public sector (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

Stroschein, J., Linton, A., Peterson, T., Lacey, H., Timpson, S., Bergendorf, D., Stearns, D. (2016). Pocatello comprehensive annual financial report. Retrieved from http://www.pocatello.us/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Ite...

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