City’s audit given clean opinion, no serious findings

Though frequent changes in personnel in the City of Franklin’s finance department last fiscal year caused a few problems, the city’s audit came back with few discrepancies.

Barbara Watts, CPA, Darnall, Sykes, Gardes & Frederick, presented the report to the city council Tuesday during their regular meeting.

Among findings were issues dealing with remitting bond payments by the due date, though the city was seldom more than a week or so late; there were occasional instances of ledger entries not being reconciled on a timely basis, and a contractor on the water plant renovation project mistakenly purchased pipe not manufactured in the United States as required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which helped fund the project.

Watts said that total revenues for 2011 were $4.197 million versus $4.180 million in 2010. She said the change came from an increase in sales taxes, which increased $224,000 and ad valorem taxes which increased by about $24,000.

Intergovernmental revenues decreased about $281,000, and $100,000 of that was the St. Mary Parish Council’s allocation for purchase of a fire truck. Federal grants dropped by about $150,000.

Watts said expenditures decreased by $290,000, mostly in capital outlay expenses.

The bottom line excess of revenues over expenditures in the general fund was $211,325 compared to a $372,778 deficiency in the prior year, Watts said.

The utility fund finished the year $690,652 in the black, compared to $127,000 in the red in 2010. Watts said the bulk of total non-operating revenues were in debt forgiveness of a loan where a portion of the principal is erased under a federal forgiveness program.

Also Tuesday, the council took up several items presented by City Inspector Blake Steiner.

A flood ordinance variance for a property at 2207 Chatsworth Road was approved. Steiner said the property sits at 7½ feet, and after consultations with FEMA officials he felt the variance was warranted.

The council agreed to pursue demolition of property at 614 Trowbridge St. after Steiner’s office went through all required legal proceedings to have the owner rehabilitate or demolish the structure.

On Steiner’s recommendation, the council granted the owner of property at 615 J.A. Hernandez St. an additional 90 days to make necessary repairs to the structure.

The owner of three properties addressed as 600, 602 and 604 Martin Luther King Blvd. was given 30 days to secure the properties from trespassers. The property owner will then meet with Steiner to hammer out a plan for rehabilitation.

The council also:

—Approved an ordinance setting speed limits in the city.

—Approved a resolution allowing Techeland Arts Council to sell alcohol during its next presentation of the play No Hitchin’.

—Authorized the use of Caffery Park by the Franklin Youth Organization for its baseball and softball programs.

—Approved a resolution supporting St. Mary Community Action’s Head Start program.

—Approved a resolution reinstating and amending the city’s insurance pool plan.

—Declared Mardi Gras Day, Feb. 21, a holiday and approved lifting the open container law for one hour before and after the parade and only on the parade route, with no glass containers allowed.

—Approved a salary increase from $60,000 to $65,000 a year for Chief Financial Officer Ed Hay.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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