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County honored by state for financial practices


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Chaves County and its Finance Department have received a state honor for budgeting and financial reporting efforts.

The Local Government Division (LGD) of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration has given the county an LGD’s Director Award, announced during an annual conference in November.

“The LGD Director’s Award recognizes the local governments that have exhibited high performing standards, outstanding budget and financial reporting, setting a standard for their peers,” the award announcement read.

This is the first time Chaves County has received an award from the Finance and Administration Department, said Joe Sedillo, the recently retired chief financial officer for the county.

He said the county previously has been recognized several times for outstanding financial practices by the New Mexico Counties organization. It also has received a national award for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Reporting.

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Robert Corn, a member and former chairman of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners, said the DFA award was an important recognition of the county’s efforts to manage taxpayer dollars in an exemplary manner.

“We care a great deal about the taxpayers, where the money comes, and we are very careful about how we spend it,” he said. “And we track the results to make sure it is all in accordance and traceable. You have to do all that stuff. You owe it to the taxpayers to make sure you are totally and completely able to handle your finances and account for every penny.”

Sedillo said that about four key staff members in the Finance Department work to develop, manage and coordinate audits of budgets. That includes the newly named chief financial officer, Anabel Barraza, who has worked for the county for several years.

But, Sedillo added, outstanding budgets and financial reporting require the cooperation of all departments in the county, as well as the Budget Committee, which includes some county commissioners.

“The Budget Committee works many hours in cutting, adding, debating and scrutinizing every fund and department,” Sedillo said. “They significantly work and offer guidance as to priorities of the overall capital outlay. Success comes for all of these departments and the people who have specific roles in maintaining those budgets throughout the years.”

The other two government entities to receive the LGD Director’s Award this year are the village of Ruidoso and the Albuquerque-Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority.

Three other public entities have been recognized with the Rising Star Award for improvement in budget management and financial reporting or for overcoming significant financial challenges. Those are Valencia County, the village of Hatch and the East Pecos Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association.

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