RIO COMMUNITIES — The city of Rio Communities received a clean bill of financial health on Monday, March 14, when an independent auditor presented its findings for fiscal year 2020-21 to the city council.
Jeremiah Armijo, CPA, senior manager with SJT Group LLC, the firm that conducted the city’s audit, told the council the audit team found no findings during its annual audit.
“I can sincerely say the city was great in facilitating the audit,” Armijo said. “The city received a clean, unmodified opinion on the financial statements, which is the best you can get.
“There were no material weaknesses identified in internal controls, and there were no significant deficiencies reported. That’s just testament to the city’s ability to get better and implement best practices.”
Armijo said the city has also resolved all five of last year’s findings, including a violation of the Travel and Per Diem Act by the previous city manager, and a violation of fringe benefits, in which a city employee was allowed to use a city vehicle to and from their personal residence.
Other findings from last year’s audit that has been rectified included one that dealt with procurement. Armijo said the previous manager made some purchases that didn’t comply with law, and a violation of the anti-donation clause in which there was a purchase from eBay for fencing in the amount of $537, but the material was never received from the vendor.
The last finding the city rectified was a lack of supporting documentation for credit card expenditures.
Armijo was very complimentary of the city’s staff and its internal controls.
“The city has come a long way; you guys are doing things much better,” he said.
Rio Communities Mayor Joshua Ramsell told Armijo he was appreciative of his team and their professionalism. He also praised the city employees.
“Our staff have definitely turned things around, and it speaks volumes of the staff and what you do on a day-to-day basis,” Ramsell said.
“I honestly want to thank our staff,” said Councilor Peggy Gutjahr. “They’ve done an outstanding job under the leadership of (city manager) Dr. (Marty) Moore. Having an unmodified audit with no findings is pretty spectacular.”
Stephanie Finch, the city’s finance officer and treasurer, said it wasn’t just her office and staff who should be praised.
“It doesn’t just take the finance department; it takes the city as a whole,” Finch said. “It’s taken all the staff of the city, from the clerks office, public works and city manager. I think we worked very well as a team.”
Moore echoed the comments and compliments to the staff and also thanked the council.
“I’m thankful for the city council for your support and trust in us to do the job,” Moore told the councilors and mayor. “It makes it a lot easier to do our job.”
City of Rio Communities Audit (2020-21)
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.