Commission votes to rejoin EPCOG

The Quay County Commission voted to rejoin the Eastern Plains Council of Governments after a three-year absence from the organization.

In 2010, commissioners had concerns about EPCOG's audits, which were several years behind, said Richard Primrose, county manager.

Primrose said at that time the commission did not feel comfortable spending public money to be a part of the organization until their audits were brought up to date.

It was crucial to the council that audits be completed and brought up to date, said Sandy Chancey, EPCOG executive director.

Chancey said there is no definitive answer to why the audits had fallen behind. Bringing them up to date was not only a matter of good business practice, it was imperative for the council's budget, she said.

"If we had not addressed this matter it could have greatly impacted the council's yearly budget," Chancey said.

Chancey said House Bill 411, which passed the Legislature in 2011, prevents entities without current audits from receiving state funding. She said that would make the council ineligible for state grants, which account for a large portion of their budget.

Chancey said they are currently working on the 2012 audit, which should be submitted within a few days. She said the council is hopeful now that the audits have been addressed, more entities will elect to rejoin.

Primrose said there are many benefits to being a member of EPCOG, especially for those in rural and small communities. He said EPCOG would help with seeking funding for projects through the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Primrose said they are also helpful with economical development planning and the application of Community Block Development Grants.

"There are so many areas which Quay County can benefit by being a member," Primrose said

Operating in the seven county Planning and Development District IV, which includes Quay, Curry, Roosevelt and De Baca counties, EPCOG aids in planning and regional development.

The annual cost of membership to EPCOG is $2,173.

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