Each year the city also undergoes an independent, comprehensive audit for the prior fiscal year. Auditors are normally onsite in April or May, reviewing the prior year’s financial records (January 1 – December 31).
This is standard procedure for local governments across the country and the basic threshold of transparency, professionalism, and performance that you should expect from your municipal government.
The results of the audit are published annually in a document called the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, or CAFR (pronounced caff-er). The results of the audit are made public by mid-summer, discussed and adopted in an open public meeting, and referred to by staff and Governing Body members throughout the year.
In Atchison, we also add a unique twist … Before the City Commission accepts the audit, the CAFR is reviewed by an advisory committee of appointed private citizens who contribute special expertise in finance.
This group, the Annual Audit Committee, is charged with “kicking the tires” on the independent audit to provide even greater accountability for both the auditing firm and the city organization and to ensure complete transparency for you, the citizen.