The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority has improved its financial standing, according to an annual audit.
The housing authority’s working capital increased from $22 million in 2016 to $28.6 million in 2017, accountant Dale Rector told the authority’s board of commissioners Thursday.
“If you received no more federal funds, you would be able to exist for five to six months without any revenue. As compared to 2016, that number was about three or three and a half months,” said Rector, whose Georgia-based firm Rector, Reeder &Lofton, P.C. conducted the audit.
There was more good news.
Auditors reviewed 400 tenant files from the housing choice voucher and public housing programs and found only four minimal errors. In that area, the SNRHA is “one of the best” housing authorities Rector said his firm worked with.
The audit did not find any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses with the housing authority. Commissioner Cedric Crear said that was commendable.
“I’ve been part of several major audits like this, and usually there’s always something,” he said.
But Rector and the commissioners did find areas that could use improvement.
Authority Chairwoman Dora LaGrande pointed out that legal expenses increased by nearly $100,000, or more than 30 percent. Rector said he is concerned that the housing authority’s pension obligation increased by about $3 million in a year.
“It is at a level at which you say, ‘OK, how do we keep this from bleeding us in the future?’ ” he said.
There were also continuing weaknesses with the housing authority’s inventories of items and equipment.
The previous year’s audit could not account for $210,000 of items and more than $80,000 of equipment and other capital assets. The new audit found the housing authority has improved in keeping track of items, but better controls could be put in place.
Rector recommended keeping some items, like appliances, in one warehouse when they weren’t in use, instead of at different housing authority properties throughout the county.
“It can easily be done in one place or a couple of places and reduce the chances of those things being gone,” he said.
LaGrande said the housing authority would need to commit to following through with whatever solutions staff put in place.
“Honestly, we have had a history of fixing it and then going back,” she said.