ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the launch of a new, easy-to-understand report of the county’s financial condition, called the Popular Annual Financial Report, for Fiscal Year 2021. This modified report is shorter and simpler than the fully audited Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR), and is intended to provide the public with an overview of the county’s operations, programs and financial condition in an accessible and transparent format.
Our goal is to make sure every resident who seeks information about Howard County finances and operations can get what they need in a clear and concise manner. We are proud of our financial management, which has been recognized with an AAA rating from all three bond rating agencies, and with awards for our reporting. Our finance staff continues to uphold the highest accounting standards and helps us operate an innovative and efficient government, and the new report format is another step toward excellence and accountability.
Each fiscal year, Howard County issues an official, independently-audited ACFR. The new report format provides high-level data on county revenues, including COVID-19 relief funding, current assets and liabilities, and the flow of expenses, as well as the status of capital project funding and rainy day funds. Through its Howard County At-a-Glance data, individuals can also see trends in demographic and employment statistics.
We are very excited to be able to issue our inaugural edition of the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) to kick off a new financial report that will be beneficial to the public. This report extracts information from the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) specifically designed to be readily accessible and easily understandable to the residents, general public and other interested parties who do not have a background in public finance. Thanks to County Executive Ball for his encouragement to find new ways to communicate critical financial information to our residents and to my dedicated staff in the Department of Finance for their hard work to make this report a reality.
The Department of Finance collects and invests revenues in a fiscally responsible manner; provides financial services to taxpayers, businesses, agencies, residents and employees; and pays bills for the county. The department has been recognized for more than 45 years for “Excellence in Financial Reporting” by the Government Finance Officers Association.