National Rural Water Association

2915 S. 13th Street

Duncan, OK 73533

580-252-0629   FAX 580-255-4476

Contact:  Chris Wilson, nrwacw@nrwa.org

July 27, 2009
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Rural Water assists district with financial records, grant application

 

BOISE, Idaho – The Valley View Water and Sewer District needed money to correct problems with arsenic in their wells, but the districts couldn’t sort through its financial records. A year of work from Diana Sauer, a circuit rider with the Idaho Rural Water Association, has their records in order and a grant application ready.
                 “I spent a lot of hours there,” Sauer said. “Every time I was in the area, I would stop by.”
                “The time she devoted to us is beyond our expectations,” District Board Chair Sally Foster wrote in a letter of thanks.
                 The Valley View district had several problems, stemming from its beginnings as a for-profit utility and lack of financial experience.
                 “A lot of the same people are still on the board from when it was investor owned,” Sauer explained. “They wanted to do things the same way as before, and I had to steer them toward the statutes that applied to them.”
                 “Diane has helped us with setting our by-laws, fixing financial records, and keeping us aware of state and federal statutes which apply to our water district,” Foster wrote.
                 Sauer was specially-qualified to assist with Valley View’s problems. Previous work in an accounting firm meant Sauer was often asked to help utilities with management and finance issues. Since assisting with Valley View, Sauer had become Idaho’s ARRA circuit rider, where she will assist systems with obtaining and managing stimulus funds distributed in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus package.
                 Valley View needed assistance with their financial records, but Forster didn’t have the experience to correct the problems.
                 “Their books were in a mess,” Sauer said. “They were using financial software, but weren’t using it to its full advantage.”
                “The challenges I have been facing with the updating of records, accounts and documents have been overwhelming,” Foster wrote. “I don’t think I could have done it without her.”
                 Sauer spent hours working with Foster, correcting the records and teaching bookkeeping methods. It was a start, but the utility was still missing some basic financial paperwork, and they wanted to apply for a grant to correct problems with arsenic in their water.                 “They didn’t have a balance sheet or a profit and losses statement,” Sauer said. “They hadn’t had an audit in years.”
                Sauer spent a day combing through the records to get the basic financials together so the district could apply for the grant.
                “Mrs. Sauer has been instrumental in our application for a much needed grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and Rural Development,” Foster wrote. “Were it not for her timely help, we would have missed the opportunity to even apply.”
                 The district is still waiting on the results of their application. The system is following the appropriate statutes, and their financial records are improving. After all the hours, it’s still difficult of to put a value on the assistance provided.
                 “I can’t quantify it,” Sauer said.
                 “We appreciate her so much and don’t know what we would have done without her,” Foster wrote.
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