CAFR AND CCR REPORT
Maryland is a State in the United States of America located in the Mid-Atlantic region. The state has its capital in Annapolis and its largest city as Baltimore. Among the thirteen original colonies, Maryland is believed to be the origin of religious freedom in the United States. Although Maryland is a small state in terms of size, it is densely populated creating a home to around 6 million people. Due to its closeness to Washington D.C and a fully functional economy offering manufacturing and biotechnology services, the median household income of Maryland is the highest compared to the other states. Maryland is made of a variety of topography around its borders. These include sandy dunes, low marshlands filled with a variety of wildlife and rolling hills of pine groves and oak forests. Residents of Maryland enjoy a range of climates due to the state’s proximity to water and downslope winds that protect the state from colder weather. By July 2014, Maryland was estimated to have a population of 5,976,407 with many people living in the central region of Maryland. With the many economic developments in the area, the state has the resources to take care of its people (Shen, 2007).
The CAFR for the State of Maryland for the year ended June 3oth 2014
A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is made up of U.S government financial statements. They consist of the financial report of a municipal state or other government institution under the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). The CAFR is put together by the state or other governmental accounting personnel. It is then audited by a certified accounting firm; American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) (County, 2010). The financial information of both the Enterprise Authorities and fund accounting are combined in the CAFR.
The financial section
This section is mainly made up of the government financial statements, schedules, combining financial statements and fund financial statements. It also shows any other necessary additional information that may be required by the auditing body. According to this section of the report, the state of Maryland had a net position of $9.5 billion for the fiscal year 2014.However, the total net position of the state decreased by $731 million while the net position for business activities increased by 4.9%, equivalent to $327 million. For the fiscal year 2014, Maryland reported total revenues at $35.8 billion. In terms of funds, the government reported a balance of $1.9 billion which is an 8.4% decrease from last year. All these are a clear indication that the state’s financial status is gradually improving. This information is useful for citizens of the state in knowing how their taxes are spent and if the government is making changes that will help further develop the economy of the state. In addition, information provided by the funds financial statements is helpful in evaluating short-term inflow and outflow of resources available for spending (Peter Franchot, 2014). This can be of great assistance when the government is evaluating if they have the necessary funds to cater for the needs of the state. This is very important because once a state runs short of money to run its activities, it can be forced to borrow money that puts the government in a state of debt. If it becomes a continuous trend, it can be very dangerous especially when the state is unable to pay.
The statistical section
This section is made up of any additional economic, demographic and financial information. It shows expenses on infrastructure such as transportation, fringe benefits, and any project changes. Expenditure on departments of human services, health services, and social services is also indicated. This section is also important because it gives historical information. It shows the operations and economic position of the state of Maryland for the past ten fiscal years (Posner, 2011). This can be helpful in evaluating how a particular government has performed during the time it was in office. Also, the statistical section shows the debt capacity that is the current outstanding debt of the county and its capacity to issue more debt in future that is within its legal debt margin. It is also in this section where we can find demographic statistics of up to the last ten years. This information can be useful to those who are interested in the development of the state in all its aspects; economic, financial and demographic.
The CCR for Baltimore City
The Citizens Centric report is a means for the government to enhance accountability and transparency to its citizenry. The financial report and information presented to the citizens should be in a clear and understandable context. It becomes a citizen’s right to be part of the information; that ought to be infrequent updates, honest and technically accurate. A Citizens Centric report will entail community information- which contains the population figures, the region characteristics as well as laid out government goals for the community. In addition to the community information, it also contains performance report on the key missions and services. A detailed cost and revenue information and a prospect of the coming year is also part of the Citizens Centric report.
Baltimore City is the largest city in the state of Maryland. It is ranked as the 26th city in the country in popularity. It is comprised of hundreds of identified districts which has earned it the title of “city of neighborhoods.” Most of the job opportunities in the area are either in science, engineering, technology, and math. Maybe this explains the rich architecture variety of styles in the city. Even the streets of Baltimore are in a grid pattern with many bricks and formstone-faced rowhouses. The city has its main commercial area in Downtown Baltimore which is in Central Baltimore. This part of Central Baltimore is home to many facilities such as the Baltimore Convention Center and the M&T Bank Stadium. The area also includes shopping centers, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. This area mostly serves as a center for business activities with limited opportunity for residential use. On the other hand, South Baltimore acts as both an industrial and residential area. It has the setting of a socio-economic region consisting of working class individuals with different ethnical and cultural backgrounds. The area has some attractive sceneries such as the Locus Point.
During the year 2012, census for Baltimore put its population at an estimated 621,342.In Downtown Baltimore and its surroundings, there are an upcoming lot of young working individuals and immigrants. This shows potential for growth of major cities in the area. The increase is as a result of increased international migration and fewer people leaving the city. This is after Mayor Rawlings-Blake made an announcement during her inauguration that her priority goal was to increase the population of the city by around 10,000 families in a decade. The population of Baltimore is made up of different communities such as blacks, whites, Asian, Hispanic and even Latinos. The price of housing in Baltimore is quite high considering it is a large coastal city. In the year 2012, the median sale price for houses in Baltimore was $95,000. Despite the change in national trends and the collapsing of housing, residents of Baltimore still face increasing house rent. This has caused an increase in the number of homeless people in Baltimore. In 2011, the number rose to 4,000 people most of them being young people.
The Mayor Rawlings introduced a plan intended to fix the city’s $121 million budget deficit without cutting the essential services or increasing property taxes. Her plan was aimed at closing that deficit with around $70 million in spending reductions and $50 million in new diversified revenue so that gaps in the preliminary budget for the fiscal year 2011 can be filled. She is determined to provide the people of her city with the best despite the fiscal crisis. She is working on balancing the burden between the different groups in society as well as giving people choices of avoiding new taxes. The Mayor also wants to prevent close to 355 layoffs to reduce the number of unemployed people.
Baltimore city is working on a 54-mile fiber ring. This project is aimed at repairing and replacing worn out fiber that will in turn strengthen the public safety radio system. It will also be a step in extending broadband access to areas in Baltimore City that lack it. This improvement project will make inroads at bridging the digital divide. In addition, it will enhance economic development in areas such as Carroll Industrial Park and its vicinities. When it comes to recreation, the city aims at keeping all centers open during the summer as they work at developing a full-time recreation center. For this to happen, funds for recreation need to be increased to assist in staffing and programming in facilities at 55 different locations. Healthcare wise, there are also plans to restore funds for school-based medical centers. Funds will also be put into fighting crime by funding better security measures such as advanced crime-camera technology. All these are meant to improve the lives of citizens of Baltimore city.
Why the two reports
The two reports are highly vital as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report presents a set of financial statements for the county of Prince George. It is in a limit to comply with the accounting requirements established by the Government Accounting Standards Boards. It also involves an external audit into the reports which highly consists of the financial section and Statistical section. The Citizens Centric report allows for a simplified presentation to the citizens of Baltimore city in a timely and transparent manner. It is mainly on four important aspects; location, community information, key missions and services, cost and revenue and a prospect of the coming year. It ensures that the people know the government activities, and efforts made to improve their living standards. The citizens are entitled to this information because the government and another authority acting on behalf of the government is there to serve them (King, 2007).
King, S. &. (2007). Transformational government? The role of information technology in delivering citizen-centric local public services. Local Government Studies, 333-354.
Peter Franchot, C. (2014). COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT, Year Ended June 30,2014. Spotlight on Maryland Money.
Posner, S. M. (2011). A summary of ISEW and GPI studies at multiple scales and new estimates for Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the State of Maryland. Ecological Economics, 1972-1980.
Shen, Q. &. (2007). Land-use changes in a pro-smart-growth state: Maryland, USA. Environment and Planning A, 39(6), 1457.