Skagit County recognized by State Auditor for outstanding financial stewardship

Skagit County recognized by State Auditor for outstanding financial stewardship

(SKAGIT COUNTY)– Washington State Auditor Pat McCarthy has recognized Skagit County with the State Auditor’s Stewardship Award for outstanding accomplishments in accountability, transparency and good stewardship of public resources. County leaders were recognized during an awards banquet held by the Washington Association of County Officials (WACO) in Tacoma earlier this month.

The award was presented in response to actions taken by Skagit County leaders to address concerns highlighted in a recent report issued by the State Auditor’s office: A Guide to Unauditable Governments in Washington. The report identified a lack of financial reporting by 40 special purpose districts across the state and its effect on government accountability and transparency. In an attempt to resolve these concerns, the State Auditor’s office reached out to county officials throughout the state to discuss a collaborative approach to assist special purpose districts with the financial reporting process.

In its commitment to maintaining the highest level of financial transparency, accountability, and public trust, Skagit County responded wholeheartedly to the State Auditor’s invitation. Elected officials, management, and county staff proactively engaged with the State Auditor’s office to identify local at-risk special purpose districts. Led by Skagit County Auditor Sandy Perkins, county officials coordinated an onsite filing workshop to assist special purpose districts with completing the state mandated filing process. The workshop was attended by districts in Skagit County as well as neighboring districts in Island and Whatcom counties. Ensuring that all special purpose districts complete the reporting process helps other government entities throughout the County with their decision making processes.

“As a direct result of the county’s assistance and workshop, we expect a significant portion of the previously identified ‘unauditable’ governments will comply with both filing and audit requirements,” said State Auditor Pat McCarthy. “Thank you to Skagit County and its dedicated employees for their partnership in good government and outstanding dedication to the citizens of Washington.”

In Washington, special purpose districts are limited-purpose local governments separate from a city, town, or county government. Generally, they perform a single function that is not otherwise available from city or county governments. Examples in Skagit County include fire protection, drainage and irrigation, dikes, and cemeteries. State laws require special purpose districts to submit annual financial reports to the State Auditor’s Office, however, many districts do not meet these obligations. Local governments who fail to report their financial information to the state run the risk of becoming “unauditable”.