County office earns fiscal award


News staff writer

February 11, 2006

The Hood River County Budget and Finance Department has earned its second award for the high quality of its accounting practices.

And that makes it one of only 52 rural counties across the nation to earn the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

The Gorge county was chosen for the honor by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

Dave Meriwether, county administrator, presented the award plaque to Finance Director Sandi Borowy at Monday’s County Commission meeting.

“It is rare that counties our size anywhere in the country get this award. It is a statement of the excellent system we have and how well you take care of it,” said Meriwether.

His presentation followed a glowing report from the county’s independent auditor. Parry Andersen from the Tigard firm of Pauly, Rogers and Company said the county’s fiscal reports showed no hint of any problems.

“There were no significant items that we thought we needed to comment on this year because it all seemed in order,” he said.

Borowy said the award reflects the dedication of her four office workers. The financial management team tracks about 50 local, state and federal funds that comprise the $28 million annual budget.

“I’m really proud of this department and staff. Everyone does one heck of a good job,” she said.

In 2004, the county received its first GFOA honor. The association bestows the annual award as the “highest form of recognition in the area of government accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”

Borowy said the county upgraded its accounting technology in 2002 and that has helped tremendously with recordkeeping. She said the software created by Sungard/H.T.E. of Florida enables every department head to monitor what is happening with funds on a daily basis. She said the two GFOA awards are proof that the added vigilance is paying off.

“We can’t do all of the things that we do without that accountability. We really appreciate what you do,” Commission Chair Rodger Schock told Borowy at the Feb. 6 meeting.

Some of the essential services the county provides to 21,180 citizens include maintenance of road systems, law enforcement, public safety, health care, land-use planning, and forest management.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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