Presidio County receives positive FY 2021 audit report

PRESIDIO — At last Wednesday’s meeting, the Presidio County Commissioners Court received a positive audit report for fiscal year 2021, putting the county in a prime position to continue applying for grants. 

Presidio County is playing catch-up on audits after a rough few years — the former Office of Management and Budget was created to help get the county back on track after a series of adverse audits in the 2010s, but was axed by a vote in Commissioners Court in 2018. 

In the ensuing confusion, the county’s former independent auditor Doak Painter quit, citing a series of late statement submissions, the lack of a grant administrator and a too-broad scope of responsibility for the county auditor’s office. 

The latest audit follows an upward trend for the county’s bookkeeping. An audit acts much like the county’s credit report, widening the scope of grants that can be applied for and increasing each application’s shot at success. 

Shelley Ruddock and Mario Arenas of Gibson, Ruddock and Patterson presented the report via Zoom and fielded questions from the commissioners. State law provides Presidio County with the power — and the obligation, if deemed necessary — to commission an independent audit in addition to the services of the county’s own in-house auditor. Since Painter’s resignation, the county has contracted with Gibson, Ruddock and Patterson for an objective point of view. 

In their presentation, Ruddock and Arenas said that the county had only minor “material weaknesses” that should be completely eliminated by this year’s audit. “They’re still on [the report], but they’re being addressed,” Ruddock said. 

County Auditor Patty Roach said that she hoped that the county would be back on a standard audit cycle by the end of this calendar year — when Painter quit in 2019, the county was behind. “We have a very ambitious schedule for the FY 2022 audit,” she explained, hoping that that audit would be presented in August or September. “I’m very hopeful we’ll be able to get it done and get back on track.” 

Judge Joe Portillo thanked the independent CPAs for their help and praised Roach’s work. “She keeps us in check,” he said.

The commissioners then opted to continue working with Gibson, Ruddock and Patterson for another year after a brief discussion about contracting and budgeting for their services — when the county first opted to work with the firm, they used a competitive bidding process after a series of public notices. 

Partially because the firm would be completing two audit reports in the same calendar year, the commissioners voted to move ahead with the same firm rather than follow the typical process. Roach felt that the move was in the county’s best interest. “They’ve already seen our checkbook, they know our spending habits,” she explained. “They’ll be able to work at a much more efficient pace than we would if we started over.”