BY ROBERT MORALES
County commissioners on Monday approved the 2013-2014 audit presented by Knapp & Company, P.C. Rick Knapp, a representative for the accounting firm, told commissioners that aside from a few very minor discrepancies, the audit for the fiscal year reflected positively upon the countyâ€™s finances.
The audit for year ended Sept. 30, 2014 showed a General Government fund balance of $2,948,617 and a Combined fund balance of $4,594,127. (see graphic below)
In other matters, commissioners approved a bid from Badillo Construction to renovate the MHMR offices on Broadway in the amount of $29,036. Other bidders included Tony Rocha ($29,210) and Zamora ($39,900).
The offices received heavy water damage following a heavy rain, and the renovations are needed to ensure mold is not present and that the property will comply with all safety and building regulations.
In the Feb. 19 issue of the Advocate, we reported that commissioners had approved the lease of a new vehicle for the Nutrition Center for seven months. All Nutrition Center employees were present at the Feb. 9 meeting to discuss not only the delivery vehicle for meals, but their part-time status.
At Mondayâ€™s meeting, County Judge Carlos Urias announced that the vehicle for the Nutrition Center had been put on hold. “Blame me if you want,â€ said Mr. Urias. He explained that the problems with the 2004 Ford Explorer that the Sheriffâ€™s Office purchased through drug interdiction had been fixed.
Commissioner Gilda Morales asked Mr. Urias about why the lease for the vehicle had been suddenly postponed after commissioners had approved the measure. There was no clear-cut answer from Mr. Urias other than other more important and more compelling issues had arisen that required resources from the budget.
Ms. Morales asked the county judge and the auditor if the county was broke, and the answer was no. She was referring to the roughly $2,100 the county would pay for a lease vehicle between March and September. Commissioner Cornelio Garibay said that the Nutrition Center vehicle had been repaired, and thus, a new vehicle was not necessary.
After discussion, Commissioner Adrian Norman and Mr. Garibay argued that the county should be protective of the budget unless it was absolutely necessary to make an expenditure.
Commissioner Raul Rodriguez disagreed, and he said that the motion had previously been voted for, and that there should be no further delay in acquiring a vehicle. Mr. Garibay said he would inspect the vehicle on Tuesday.
The Advocate paid a visit to the Nutrition Center on Wednesday morning to inspect the inspection in question. Valerie Florez, an employee of the Nutrition Center, took the editor for a ride in the vehicle. Without any prompting from the editor, it was apparent that there may be a transmission problem because of a tugging action that happens when the gears go from Park to Reverse.
Ms. Florez said that although the heating issue had been apparently fixed that there were two days that she had to use her personal vehicle to deliver the meals for Nutrition Center clients when the temperatures were very cold and the heater didnâ€™t work.
The 2004 Ford Expedition has 132,558 miles.
In other action, commissioners:
â€¢ Approved a lease agreement with Gary Jackson in the amount of $225 per month for the airport hangar
â€¢ Terminated contract with Dr. Albert Friday as Local Health Officer and appointed Dr. Ed Garner as the new officer in the amount of $400 per month.