BELEN — The Belen City Council recently approved its 2021 audit conducted by Cordova CPAs, which has performed the annual financial assessment for its second year.
The city received an unmodified audit for the 2020-21 fiscal year, meaning it’s the best it could receive.
While the city received an unmodified audit, Bobby Cordova, the principal of the CPA firm, said the audit revealed four findings, and four that were resolved from the prior year’s audit that had seven findings.
The 2021 findings, according to the audit, include:
- A material weakness was discovered during a search of unrecorded liabilities. The city incorrectly left out nine disbursements from its accounts payable listing totaling $568,765.
“There was an oversight on several transactions while the city was creating the accounts payable listings and some of the cash and loan activity,” the audit reads. “There was one loan that was forgotten about when the debt was provided to the auditors during fieldwork.”
The auditors said the city’s finance director will ensure proper year-end close out by thoroughly reviewing the financial and adequately analyzing required adjustments prior to year-end close out.
- Another material weakness was found during the review of cash and cash reconciliation procedures. The auditors found the utility receivables subledger did not agree to the trail balance in the amount of $10,522.
Also, the water deposit liability subledger report did not agree to the amount on the trial balance, which had $46,283 more than what was on the report.
Cordova’s CPA said the city has had several software updates over the years that may have caused the variances.
The finance director, finance specialist and utilities supervisor will work with the firm’s finance software vendor on correcting the updates.
- The third finding dealt with travel and per diem. During a testwork, the auditors noted one out of 10 samples tested the city reimbursed an employee for meal expenses of $37.04.
“The city paid monies for travel and per diem using public funds that are not in compliance with (the) State Per Diem and Mileage Act,” the audit reads.
The audit said there was an oversight by the city paying for the employee’s meal. The finance director will ensure that all travel and per diem are reviewed thoroughly for compliance before processing.
- The fourth finding is not a new one for the city of Belen — anti-donation. The auditors found the city paid a late payment fee in the amount of $187.03, which is a violation as no goods or services had been rendered.
The accounts specialist and finance director will work the department directors on the timely submission of invoices for payment.
The prior year’s findings that were resolved included improper maintenance of capital asset listing, segregation of duties and payroll, contract compliance with Keter Manufacturing and lack of internal control over authorization of payroll changes and potential fraud without notifying new office of the state auditor.
“The audit is just not about findings, but helping to strengthen the current internal control structure,” Cordova said. “There were no significant difficulties and no disagreements.”
City of Belen: 2021 fiscal year audit
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.