Kempt financial reports earn Dinuba national recognition


The city of Dinuba attracts two awards at the national level for an upstanding account on the city’s financial reporting

DINUBA – Keeping a comprehensive, transparent and easy-to-follow framework on the city’s finances has brought Dinuba’s financial reporting continuous national recognition.
The awards were received in February, one from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and another from the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO). Assistant city manager Daniel James described these awards as a reflection of the city’s commitment to its budgeting that acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the city to keeping its finances in order.
“City council and staff take budgeting very seriously, and we strive to ensure that all public funds are accounted for with the utmost accuracy and transparency,” James said.
According to James, these awards are national recognitions that are handed out through third party organizations and are difficult to get. He said a lot of detail and transparency is needed in the city’s budget and finance reporting to receive recognition at this level.
The administrative services director for the city’s finance department, Karina Solis, echoed similar sentiments and confirmed that applying for these awards requires additional work from the city. The grants can be applied for by any city, but Solis said some cities might opt out since the process is quite lengthy. She said the city’s core reason for putting in the extra work is so the format is cohesive and easy to follow.
“This shows that we are being transparent, that we’re willing to put in the extra work so that our citizens and whoever may be interested in looking at our budget documents or our financials can understand what they’re looking at,” Solis said.
From the GFOA, the city of Dinuba was granted a certificate of achievement for the 2020-21 fiscal year. This marks the city’s 29th year of receiving the award, and it is currently in the process of applying for its 30th, according to Solis. It is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, according to GFOA. The GFOA, founded in 1906, represents public finance officials across the U.S. as well as Canada.
From CSMFO, the city was granted an Operating Budget Excellence Award for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The CSMFO is a preeminent resource for the promotion of excellence in government finance, according to the organization’s website. It achieves this by serving all government finance professionals through innovation, collaboration, education and professional development.
Each of the applications are looked at by multiple reviewers, all of whom have to agree that the city has earned the award or it will not be granted. The awards are granted based on a list of different criteria, like the city’s financial statistics and flowcharts for the city’s police and fire departments. Along with the application review, Solis said the organizations will provide educational feedback with recommendations, examples and critiques on how to improve the budget for the next year.
“It’s good because it’s different people all the time, you don’t get the same reviewers,” Solis said. “So we get a different set of eyes every year.”
According to Solis, at this point, the application process for the awards is ingrained into the city’s overall budgeting process to ensure the city’s budget remains transparent for its community. The necessary information is noted and put aside for the award applications as the city is getting its budget pieced together, which she described as a months-long process.