Sterling Heights

Winning streak: City of Sterling Heights once again recognized for financial excellence

What’s happening: For the 34th consecutive year, the City of Sterling Heights has been recognized with the highest financial award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), which once again recognized the City for its excellence in financial reporting and budgeting. That nearly rivals the city’s winning streak for Tree City USA Awards, which Sterling Heights extended to 37 consecutive years earlier this spring. It might be time to start making room in the trophy case.

But that’s not all: An independent audit of the city’s finances as performed by Plante Moran for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2022, also received top honors. The independent auditors at Plante Moran issued the City an “unmodified” opinion, which is their highest rating possible. The City has continued to follow its long-term financial plan and lives within its budget, according to the audit, and all the while contributing to its fund reserves at levels above the median. The City finance staff was commended, as was the condition of the City’s books and records.

Why it’s important: “Long-term financial planning has enabled the City to continue to invest in the community through major road reconstruction efforts, neighborhood road improvements, recreational assets and place making amenities; invest in infrastructure by replacing capital equipment and upgrading and repairing City facilities; and invest in employees by continuing to offer competitive wages and benefits and fully fund long-term retirement liabilities,” says Finance & Budget Director Jennifer Varney. “This has all been accomplished while maintaining a City tax rate that remains one of the lowest of any city in Macomb County and an excellent AA credit rating from Standard & Poor. In fact, in 2022 S&P upgraded the City’s outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘positive,’ further validating the City’s strong financial position.”

See for yourself: In the spirit of transparency, a copy of the complete audit is available online HERE.

What they’re saying: “I commend our entire Finance team for their diligent work throughout the year resulting in the favorable audit results,” says City Manager Mark Vanderpool. “They continue to do excellent work and are among the best in the business.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.