In early March, the New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) visited the Farmington area, holding a workshop on the topic of financial compliance. Several funding options were explained, such as those through Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) or Interstate Streams Commission (ISC). New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts (NMACD) can offer things like technical consulting services and develop Preliminary Cost Estimates. NMAA can assist with Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plans (ICIPs) which can help for Capital Outlay requests and other state funding.
BUT if you want to qualify for state funding for design or construction, your ditch must first be in financial compliance. Ditches and acequias are local public bodies, which means they have annual requirements under the Open Meetings Act, tier reporting to the Office of the State Auditor, and financial reporting to the Local Government Division.
Open Meetings Act. This means publishing your meeting schedule in the paper once a year, giving 10-day prior notice to the public before any board meetings, and having a written agenda available 72 hours in advance of each meeting. View the Open Meetings Act guide for more details.
Tier System Financial Reporting. Your reporting requirements differ based on your annual revenue and whether you are expending capital outlay funds. All ditches should fill out the tier certification form annually, and determine what additional reporting is necessary.
Tiers are summarized here, see form for full details:
- Tier 1 ditches have less than $10,000 in revenue and did not directly expend at least 50% of, or the remainder of, a capital outlay award this year. They are exempt from quarterly reporting and budget approval to the Local Government Division (LGD), and just need to submit at Tier certification form online.
- Tiers 2 through 6 have revenue between $10,000 and $500,000 and/or have expended at least 50% of, or the remainder of, a capital outlay award this year. These ditches are required to submit annual budgets and quarterly reports to the LGD (see below) and must complete “agreed upon procedures” (AUP) with an Independent Public Auditor to meet requirements for the Office of the State Auditor. See their website for details: https://www.saonm.org/tiered_system_reporting
- Tier 7 ditches have revenue over $500,000 this year, and require a full financial audit in addition to the LGD financial reporting requirements.
- NOTE: If you have never submitted Tier Certification, AUP, or audit forms to the Office of the State Auditor before, you are required to catch up on past years from 2010 to present before you are considered “in compliance” to receive state funding.
Public bodies that are responsible for submitting an Annual Budget and Quarterly Financial Reports to the LGD can download template forms at http://www.nmdfa.state.nm.us/bfb-forms.aspx. Annual Budgets should include the following: Revenue, Expenditures, Cash and Investments, Governing Board Resolution accepting the budget, 4th Quarter Report for year just ended. Quarterly Reports should compare actual financial activity against the Annual Budget.
For questions concerning budgeting and reporting, seek out Tom Dixon, the LGD Budget & Finance Analyst at Tom.Dixon@state.nm.us.
NMAA assists acequias with all stages of financial compliance and can recommend and assist in applying for future funding opportunities. They can be reached at (505) 995-9644 or on their website at https://lasacequias.org.