by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- At a special Walsenburg City Council meeting on Monday night, Finance Director Krystel Vigil gave a 30-minute PowerPoint program showing an analysis of the paving fund. City Treasurer Jacque Sikes told the council at its last regular meeting that there was not enough money in the paving fund to build a turn lane for the new grocery store. The council wondered where the money, which was from a restricted fund, went and called upon the Finance Director to explain. Vigil showed that all of the funds balanced but that she was simply behind on transferring funds to the account in question. The money is there and is available.
During the session, Mayor Bruce Quintana asked why the Treasurer’s Report didn’t balance and Vigil told him that it did, and the council doesn’t see transfers made or not made by simply looking at that report. Sikes disagreed with Vigil saying some of the information that should have been showing wasn’t, which prompted her concern in the first place. Hein told the council members that it was a simple matter of a transfer of funds being late but that the figures are correct.
Mayor pro-tem James England told council members that they would be better able to understand things when the city went to a cash-accrual system. Vigil informed the council that that was not going to happen because the auditor says the city handles too many transactions and money entries to do a simple cash-accrual system. It will remain a modified-accrual system, which it has been for many years though most council members aren’t trained enough in accounting to totally understand.
Councilman James Moore, who is trained in accounting procedures, explained to his fellow council members that the figures and transfer of funds process is correct and explained that a modified-accrual system is necessary for the kinds of dollars handled by the city of Walsenburg. Moore was finance director for Aguilar for several years.
Mayor Quintana said he checked with the county Treasurer’s Office and that they said they were always in balance by the end of a fiscal year so why isn’t the city? Vigil explained that monies come in from the county for sales tax revenue, which is always 30-60 days in arrears so you have to allow for the transfer of funds back and forth. Because there are many transfers taking place on a routine basis, it is not uncommon to be behind.
Again, Moore agreed with Vigil, saying that it is virtually impossible to have the city closeout all of their accounts by the end of a year. In hopes of avoiding such misunderstandings in the future, Vigil told the council that she would give them an accounting of transfers so they could have a better picture. Mayor pro-tem England closed the discussion by saying it would be beneficial if the treasurer and the finance director could attend finance meetings together to iron out any questions that arise to avoid misunderstandings.