County governments in Michigan are required by State law (P.A. 2 of 1968) to be audited annually and to produce basic financial statements. A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is an audited public document that contains the required financial statements and accompanying notes. In addition, a CAFR includes narrative information from a government’s management describing the financial condition of the government. A CAFR also includes detailed economic, demographic and statistical information.
Governments are encouraged to create a CAFR but because of the amount of effort involved are not required to do so. Washtenaw County prepares a CAFR annually, which is available from the Finance Department as well as on this website. A review of the CAFR enables taxpayers to evaluate the proper use of public funds. The CAFR is used extensively by bond rating agencies, underwriters and bondholders to assess the investment risk of a government.
To encourage governments to create CAFRs that are easily readable and efficiently organized, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) asks that governments submit their CAFR for review by the GFOA. If the content and format meet the high quality standards established by the GFOA, it will award a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to that government. Washtenaw County has been awarded this Certificate of Achievement for its CAFR every year since 1990.