December 17, 2002

Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility Sees Opportunity to Reassure Public, During Year Filled With High-Profile Corporate Accounting Scandals

Utility Volunteers for Government Finance Officers Association Review

Oak Creek — Rate payers served by the Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility may sleep better tonight after watching the nightly news describe the latest accounting scandal involving the next Enron or Arthur Andersen. The utility voluntarily submitted financial reports for independent review, and, for the ninth consecutive year, received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

“Financial accounting is not the most glamorous of topics,” says Steven N. Yttri, utility general manager, “but accounting becomes more interesting when the public realizes how it can affect their pocket books.

“Sound financial reporting contributes to rate payers saving money by allowing the utility to borrow money less expensively when upgrading utility infrastructure,” Yttri says. “For example, the utility saved $250,000 when we expanded the capacity of the water treatment plant because investors view us as a safe place for their money. Strong financial reporting enhances our standing in the financial community.”

Award-winning state and local government financial reports are reviewed and selected by the national Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). Certified financial reports go beyond the requirements of generally accepted accounting principles.

“This provides the users of government financial statements — including rate payers, media and investors — with more information useful in evaluating financial conditions of government entities,” Yttri says.

Public Benefits of GFOA Review
Market Status:
Certified reports detail the attractiveness of a utility for investors and analysts when infrastructure investment becomes necessary. Moody’s Investor’s Service, citing a well-established financial operation, continues to assign high-grade bond ratings to the utility.

Clarity: Certified reports meet requirements designed to eliminate ambiguous and potentially misleading presentations for those interested in the utility’s financial affairs.

Comparability: Certified reports conform to terminology and formatting standards that allow straightforward comparisons among different reporting years of the utility.

Completeness: Certified reports require presentation of fiscal data deemed necessary for use by the many groups and individuals legitimately interested in the financial affairs of the utility. These groups include rate payers, media, investors, regulators and others.    

Who Participates in the GFOA Review?
Nationally, 4.4 percent of all cities and 14.85 percent of all counties participate in the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting program. In
Wisconsin, only 1 percent of the 1,849 municipalities and 15 percent of the 72 counties submits a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for review.    

About 3,350 CAFRs are expected to be submitted to the Certificate Program for fiscal year 2002. Notable government entities receiving this award include the New York City Fire Department and Police Department and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.   

Please visit to view an online version of this news release.

The Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility is nationally recognized for producing some of the highest quality drinking water. Always seeking ways to improve, utility employees conduct thousands of water quality tests annually to ensure the cleanest, safest drinking water possible flows to customers. The utility tests nearly three times more than the 970 quality controls required by government regulations. The utility is proud to announce its water meets and exceeds all federal and state drinking water health standards.


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