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UINTAH BASIN AGENCY ASKS THAT FUNDS KEEP COMING

Letters are being sent to state and federal agencies responsible for allocating approximately $2 million a year to the Uintah Basin Association of Governments for various programs in Duchesne, Uintah and Daggett counties, asking them to continue sending those funds despite an audit that has been delayed for well over a year now.

When tax dollars are spent by a government agency, state law requires audits to be completed six months after a fiscal year ends, while federal law is more lenient allowing for up to a year for completion. UBAG's 1993-94 fiscal year audit has now been delayed well over the year mark and could be pushed back even later. An audit that was to be wrapped up by July 31 ran into delays after cases of apparent misuse of government funds were discovered.UBAG Executive Director Greg Richens said the letters to the various funding agencies will inform them of the latest financial snag and ask for their cooperation and continued support until the situation can be remedied.

"I hope they don't cut off the funds because we are doing fine now," Richens said. "It's in the best interest of the state agencies to keep us active out here. However, with the federal agencies I'm not sure how it's going to work."

Richens said tremendous strides have been made to bring UBAG's finances back in line. The 1994-95 fiscal year audit is running on schedule and internal controls have been established.

Richens was named UBAG executive director in May 1994 after then-director Robert Hugie resigned to take a job with the Ute Indian Tribe. Hugie had served as UBAG director for over a year. He supports the investigation into possible financial wrongdoing during his administration, pointing out when he stepped into take the job UBAG was already plagued with serious problems. "I think they need to carry through with the investigation until they get done and let the chips fall where they may."

UBAG has a shortfall of "somewhere over $30,000" from its 1993-94 fiscal year budget. Richens said that figure could reach $60,000 by the time the audit is completed.

More than $30,000 that was owed to the state and federal governments in payroll taxes has now been paid in full, Richens said. The money was deducted from employees' paychecks during the 1993-94 fiscal year but never turned over to the IRS.