The Albuquerque Journal reports that Columbus employees say the village is almost out of debt and elected officials have been working to win over residents' trust.
Columbus Mayor Nicole Lawson says she will not seek a second term after dedicating more than two years to putting village affairs back in order.
Lawson took on what might have been the town's toughest job in 2011, when she was appointed to replace Eddie Espinoza after he was arrested. She said she found the village deep in debt, and money and numerous financial records were missing.
An independent financial audit of the books found the village records in such disorder that it began with a disclaimer: "As a result of turnover in village personnel and poor record-keeping, we were unable to obtain detail to any general ledger's account."
The report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, said the village had exceeded its authorized budget of $1.4 million by nearly $1.1 million and went on to cite dozens of "significant deficiencies" and "material weaknesses."
With the approval of the trustees, the village reduced municipal staff to 14 positions from 24 and made all assistant-level jobs part time — cuts that also included shuttering the local police department.
On the revenue side, a new set of digital water meters improved the village's ability to read meters and collect payment.
For fiscal 2013-2014, the village's budgeted expenditures fall about $250,000 below budgeted revenue of $1.3