Jackson County wins financial reporting award

Jackson County's financial reporting has won a prestigious award for the 25th consecutive year, and recently saved taxpayers some $3.5 million in interest payments on library bonds.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada issued its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the county for providing comprehensive and clear information about its economic condition.

Only 6 percent of cities and counties have earned the award nationally, and just 18 percent of Oregon municipalities.

"We were the first county in Oregon to get it," said Gary Cadle, the county's finance director.

Cadle said the county mentions its recognition for financial reporting when it prepares documentation for bond-financed projects such as library or airport construction. He said the financial reporting award adds extra weight to the county's financial picture.

Debbie James, an accountant in the finance department, received an individual performance award from the same organization.

Cadle said the county received the highest bond rating of any jurisdiction in Jackson County's history in 2000, when it sold the first half of the $38.9 million in bonds that voters approved for libraries. The favorable rating, which is rather like an excellent personal credit score, lowered the interest rate and saved taxpayers $1 million in interest payments over the life of the bonds.

The remainder of the library bonds was secured in 2002.

Cadle said the county refinanced the 2000 bonds in 2006 at a more favorable interest rate, saving an additional $2.5 million to taxpayers.

At their regular Wednesday meeting, all three county commissioners applauded the efforts of the finance department to save taxpayers money and provide a clear picture of the financial condition of county government.

"This is extremely important because it means we can trust the numbers," said Commissioner Dave Gilmour.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.

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