Contact: Daniel Maki

SANTA FE—Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the state budget which includes a $500,000 appropriation requested by the State Auditor’s Office to help local public bodies become compliant with state financial reporting laws. These local public bodies include Acequias, Ditches, Land Grants, Mutual Domestic Water Consumer Associations, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts. This funding will allow the State Auditor’s Office to hire accountants to work with these local public bodies in various geographic areas to bring them into financial compliance. Almost $6 million in capital outlay appropriation is being withheld from these local public bodies because they are behind on their financial reporting. Executive Order 2013-006 restricts these entities from receiving those funds if they are not up to date on their annual financial reports. The $500,000 will help complete about 250 of the estimated 2,000 annual financial certifications for these entities.

“Thank you to the Legislature and Governor for approving our request for these funds to help these local public bodies,” Auditor Maestas said. “This will allow my office to start the process of clearing up many years of missed financial reports and getting these local public bodies eligible for the capital outlay funds that could make a huge difference in the everyday lives of so many New Mexicans.”

The State Auditor’s Office previously provided application-based, small financial assistance grants to these small local entities every year to get them into compliance. This larger funding will enable a comprehensive, centralized, and phased approach to assist all local public bodies in financial compliance while providing a procurement opportunity that incentivizes accounting firms to send accountants to remote parts of the state to assist small public bodies.

“Without a program like this, many of our acequia members would never be able to become financially compliant,” said Paula Garcia, Executive Director of the New Mexico Acequia Association. “Our members are volunteers, and this will take an enormous burden off their shoulders.”