Aspen School District clears audit hurdles, can receive property tax revenue again
Annual audit submitted to the state nearly five and a half months after original deadline
Aspen School District has cleared the hurdles to complete its 2021 financial audit and has submitted it to the state, more than five-and-a-half months after the original deadline and three-and-a-half months after the extended deadline.
That means the district can start receiving property tax revenue again from Pitkin County after a hold that lasted more than a month.
Chief Financial Officer Linda Warhoe and auditor Paul Niedermuller from the firm CliftonLarsonAllen presented the audit to the board of education at a meeting May 18 and the board approved the audit as presented.
The Colorado Office of the State Auditor received the Aspen School District’s submission May 20 and released the property tax hold May 23, according to an email from Greg Fugate, the office’s director of communications and quality assurance. The office’s online local government portal also indicates that the district’s audit has been processed.
The district is required by law to submit an annual audit to the state within six months of the end of its fiscal year, which concludes at the end of June. An auditor has five months to submit it to the district, then the district is supposed to submit it to the state within 30 days of receiving it.
That timeline set the usual deadline at the end of December, and the district filed for a 60-day extension that moved the deadline to March 1. But by April 20, the district was still “in the thick of this audit,” Warhoe said in a Board of Education meeting at the time. Several factors impacted the timeline, including staffing challenges and adjustments to working with a new auditor.
With the district’s audit well past the deadline, the state had two options: It could tell the county to withhold tax funds from the district or require the district to “make or cause such audit to be made” at the district’s expense.
The office of the state auditor opted for the former and sent a letter to Pitkin County Treasurer Ann Driggers on April 19 that authorized the county to withhold tax funds from the district in accordance with the state statute.
County Manager Jon Peacock confirmed in an email that the county “received a Funds Release Notice from the state on (May 23), so there are no longer any holds on the property tax distribution.”
The Aspen Flight Academy is putting out the all-call for incoming Aspen High School students to participate this summer in the “Every Student Flies” program, which offers every student at the school an hour of free flight time.
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