Audit gives high marks to MID finances

An independent financial audit presented earlier this week to the Merced Irrigation District’s board of directors praised the district’s monetary practices, showing it was “in good financial standing.”

The annual outside review of MID’s finances, conducted by the San Francisco-based firm of Burr, Pilger, Mayer Inc., gave the district “an unqualified opinion,” the highest rating an auditor can give, district officials said in a news release.

“It’s another example of the staff leadership, and the finance director’s in particular, that has taken MID to levels of fiscal responsibility above and beyond what is required,” said Director Scott Koehn, who sits on the board’s finance subcommittee.

The 63-page audit report, which reviewed records from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014, showed the district’s net position increased by $4.7 million and long-term debt fell by about $1.9 million. It also said the district had “healthy reserves” and met all its debt-service requirements.

“In recent years, the MID Board has adopted a number of policies to assist in managing and monitoring our finances. Those policies and the work of our dedicated staff have resulted in this superb audit,” General Manager John Sweigard said in the statement.

Brian Stubbert, MID chief financial officer, said the audit was completed in less than 90 days. According to the Government Finance Officers Association, less than 10 percent of government agencies and special districts have audits completed in such a short time.

Stubbert said he was “extremely pleased with the outcome of this audit.”

According to the report, MID had $78.7 million in operating revenue and $73.1 million in expenses for the year. The result was a net income from operations to the district of $5.6 million, which officials said would be used to pay down debt and for investments in capital improvements.

MID’s external audit is conducted each year and is required to provide assurance that the financial position of the district is being correctly reported, spokesman Mike Jensen said in the statement.