City Audit Filed On Time For First Time In Decade

Joyce Sandoval enjoys a laugh prior to a Finance Report
Finance Dir. Joyce Sandoval & Staff Praised by Mayor & Council-Audit: "Unmodified, Clean Opinion For Last Three FY's". Photo by Robert Naranjo

City Of Espanola Back In Business After FY 2015 Audit On Time

By Robert A. Naranjo

City Audit Filed On Time For First Time In Decade

“Unmodified, Clean Opinion” Finance Director Sandoval Tells Council


At the regularly scheduled City Council meeting held June 28 at City Hall, with only Councilor Robert Seeds, not present but excused, Joyce Sandoval, director of finance for the city said something that had not been heard in many years in the City Council’s chambers. Sandoval began her regular report with the news that the city’s audit was submitted on time for FY 2015 to the State of New Mexico Department of Finance Administration (DFA).

Sandoval said that it was the first time during her employment with the city she’s been that the audit has been submitted on time the DFA. She explaine that several years ago it was submitted late and every year it became later and later until it became difficult to catch up, and it snow balled from there.

Over the last several years the city has worked to catch up with delinquent audits, slowly reconstructing city finances from several years ago to get an accurate picture of where every dollar was spent. At first it was very slow going, taking over a year to complete a single delinquent audit, but as the city staff and contracted accountants delved deeper they built a foundation on which to build and things sped up. The audits for FY 2013 and 2014 have all been completed in the last six months and with Tuesday’s report the city was officially on time and in compliance.

Additionally, Sandoval said that the city’s audit has come in with an “unmodified, clean opinion for the last three years.”

City councilor John Hernandez congratulated Sandoval and finance department staff, saying, “I thought I’d never see this day!” Councilor Peggy Sue Martinez, thanked Sandoval and the finance staff for their important work, and after more councilors echoed their colleagues’ sentiments, Councilor Pedro Valdez made the motion to approve the resolution approving the Finance Report, it was seconded and unanimously approved.

City Manager Mark Trujillo (right) and City Council discuss audit during Tuesday’s meeting. Photo by Robert Naranjo for Valley Daily Post

Mark Trujillo, then interim City Manager, stated at a previous city council meeting that this day was coming and the city finance department was close to submitting the audit for FY 15 and getting “a clean bill of health.” A few week’s later, Sandoval announced the city had submitted FY 2015 audit on time.

Mayor Alice Lucero, obviously pleased with Sandoval’s announcement said that due to the city audit being submitted late to the DFA through the years, the city missed out on funding opportunities, but “with our staff” the Mayor added, they will make it up. Councilor discussion ensued on the “fiscal agent” funding that was out there where the County of Rio Arriba stepped in to help the city as the fiscal agent due to the City’s late audits. The city library renovation at about $400,000 was the largest one the county assisted with, but now the city does not need a fiscal agent due to the audit submitted on time to the DFA.

Going forward, with DFA’s signing off on the up to date audit the City of Espanola should be eligible to receive State capital outlay and pursue grant opportunities.