CWIFR strives to maximize effectiveness, efficiency, and value to the community. In addition we endeavor to be transparent in our decision-making and financial affairs to allow our taxpayers and the District’s voters to have the ability to assess if we are making efficient use of public funds and providing good value for the cost of our services.
Message from the District’s Financial Officer
As with all municipal entities, Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue (CWIFR) is regularly audited by the Washington State Auditor. Until 2014, The District’s revenues had been less than $2,000,000 and the Washington State Auditor conducted an accountability audit every three years to examine fiscal processes to determine if the District has appropriate internal controls in compliance with state laws and regulations. The District has completed this audit since 1986 without a finding. In the 2013 accountability audit, the auditor made specific recommendations regarding inventory and asset management. The District has developed and implemented standard operating guidelines and work practices to address the auditor’s recommendations.
Local governments are required to receive a financial audit when they receive over $2,000,000 in annual revenues; or spend more than $500,000 in federal financial assistance in a year; or is specified in financing arrangements, such as bonds, loans or grant agreements. CWIFR is scheduled for an accountability and financial audit in 2015. The financial audit will render an opinion on whether the District’s financial statements are presented in conformity with cash basis accounting as an Other Comprehensive Basis of Accounting (OCBA) as prescribed by the State Auditor.
Consistent with the Board of Fire Commissioner’s conservative fiscal philosophy and adopted policies and standard operating guidelines, the District maintains a balanced budget with revenues exceeding expenditures. In addition, the District maintains a General Fund ending balance of 43% of budgeted expenditures in the subsequent year to provide:
- Sufficient funds to meet current expense in advance of receipt of tax revenue in April (estimated as 33% of the maintenance and operations budget)
- A contingency fund comprised of 10% of the maintenance and operations budget for use in the event of unbudgeted or unanticipated expenses, if authorized by the Board of Fire Commissioners.
The District is debt free, having retired its long term general obligation bond in 2011.
Consistent with the goals, initiatives, and performance measures established in the District’s 2011-2016 Strategic Plan, CWIFR has developed a multi-year financial plan (see Appendix B), comprehensive financial policies and standard operating guidelines consistent with the Best Practices and Advisories published by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and Category 4 Fiscal Resources criterion as specified in the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) (2009) Fire & Emergency Service Self-Assessment Manual.