City looks to improve Finance Department

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

January 22, 2015

Due to the City of Port Isabel’s unique economic funds and projects, recommendations were made during the city’s annual audit to improve the finance committee’s efficiency when submitting financial reports. The board discussed possible strategies to work towards reconciling the delayed submissions of inventory to their Finance Department. While the audit was approved at the previous City Hall meeting and forms were submitted earlier than previous years, community representatives are seeking to improve timeliness for similar documents as the city was again behind this year.

“We need to reconcile this,” said Mayor Joe E. Vega. “This is not the first time that this has come up. It has come up for several years already. We need to keep track of all our assets as this recommendation was made not only last audit, but the previous audit… All we’re doing is just adding to it.”

The city is currently over budget mostly due to a unique situation directly attributed to overages coming from the still new Port Isabel Event & Cultural Center and its numerous contract issues which has led to money temporarily being taken out of the city’s fund balance while the city awaits reimbursements from the federal government for those grants. Those are expected to arrive sometime in early February.

“It’s just a situation in which we had to dip into our own resources until we get reimbursed,” said City Manager Edward Meza. “We’re fine. It’s great that we have a lot of good projects, but with that there’s funding and the time needed to get reimbursed.”

The significance of an approved annual auditing is so a city can have funds released to them for their distinctive needs. In order to do this a city must be updated on acquired property including land, vehicles and buildings. Port Isabel Finance Director René Nava suggested marking attained items as they are acquired, as well as retired unusable equipment, would aid the City’s efforts to become more efficient as opposed to waiting to take stock right before approaching audit deadlines.

The city is also hoping to work on having a solid, but realistic reserve fund that can withstand at least 90 days of city operation in the case of a natural disaster. An ideal rainy day fund amount for a city with Port Isabel’s population and resources would be around $800,000.

“It’s our goal to reach that,” continued Meza. “A lot of cities don’t have that and we’ve had it before but we’ve had to use some of it for now. We hope to reach that when we don’t have as many projects happening. It will get up there again.”

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