Embattled special utility district recognized for financial audit

PALMVIEW — The Agua Special Utility District was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, or CAFR, by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

The award — described as the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, according to a news release issued by the GFOA — comes amid Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr.’s call for the Texas Rangers to investigate Agua SUD.

Last week, Rodriguez’s office issued a news release stating they were enlisting the Texas Rangers to join their investigation of the district. The review is to determine if Agua committed a criminal offense, according to the release. Rodriguez would not provide further details and Agua SUD officials have yet to comment on the matter.

Regarding the audit, and citing “high standards,” the GFOA release referred to the CAFR as being “judged by an impartial panel.”

Such standards, the release further stated, “includes demonstrating a constructive ‘spirit of full disclosure’ to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.”

Agua SUD received recognition for its 2015 and 2016 fiscal years’ audits, which both completed by McAllen-based Carr, Riggs & Ingram LLC. The company was named Long Chilton LLP at the time it conducted the 2015 audit.

The GFOA established the CAFR program in 1945 to encourage governing bodies to go beyond the minimum requirements of accounting, according to the GFOA’s website.

This award is not meant to assess the financial health of Agua SUD, or other organizations that participate in the program, but simply ensures that whoever performs the audit has the necessary information to make that assessment themselves.

Car, Riggs & Ingram issued an unmodified, or “clean,” opinion on Agua SUD’s financial statements for both years.