While we live in a time when negative news seems to garner more of the spotlight, this does not mean that great, positive things aren’t occurring every day in local government.
And, I couldn’t be happier to share some City of Rio Rancho accomplishments. Rio Rancho citizens should know their taxpayer funds are being managed exceptionally well, and city staff members are working hard to bring more resources into the community to benefit residents.
Rio Rancho local government is required by state law to have an independent third party perform an annual inspection and review of its accounting and finances, commonly known as an audit. An audit of government operations is one of the primary accountability/transparency tools that exists.
The results of an audit provide citizens a mechanism by which to measure government performance and hold accountable those entrusted with public dollars.
Recently, the results of the audit performed on Rio Rancho operations for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020, were published, and are available on the city’s website, rrnm.gov. No findings or issues were identified, and what is called a “clean opinion” was certified and transmitted to the state.
Each year, city staff manages tens of millions of dollars, performs thousands upon thousands of financial transactions and must comply with a voluminous number of federal, state and local regulations, all while adhering to government accounting standards and generally accepted accounting principles. To essentially receive an “A+” grade on the audit is truly impressive for the city’s administrative and financial personnel, and was done by one of the smallest staffs in the state and under added difficulties caused by COVID.
When you don’t receive high marks like this, and an audit uncovers accounting and operational deficiencies, as we have recently seen in other New Mexico communities, this can cost citizens. When government officials make a mistake or utilize bad practices, the taxpayers pay the price via their money being misspent, wasted or used to pay fines to the IRS, which otherwise could have been used to provide public services.
Another example of this administration doing an outstanding job on behalf of the people of Rio Rancho is a recent announcement that the community is receiving $2.3 million from the federal government and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This funding was secured for a water tank replacement project.
By city staff and consultants pursuing this funding opportunity and submitting a quality proposal, additional money is being infused into Rio Rancho. As a result, more necessary work on behalf of citizens can take place sooner rather than later.
More money for Rio Rancho to maintain the vital water system with no corresponding tax or fee increase is something I think everyone can find value in.
I look forward to sharing with you more positive stories about Rio Rancho local government throughout the year.
(Gregg Hull was elected to his second term as mayor of Rio Rancho in 2018.)