Parish engages Pitts and Matte as auditing firm

Authorization to execute an engagement letter for professional auditing services during the 2013 fiscal year by the Pitts and Matte accounting firm was granted by the St. Mary Parish Council Wednesday with opposition by one councilman.

In voting against the resolution, Councilman Tim Tregle of District 7 said he was opposed due to a lack of competition.

Tregle said it has been 20 years since there was any competition for the auditing service.

At that time, he said, the council adopted an ordinance that required competitive bids for auditing services. That ordinance was repealed two years later, he added.

“There’s no state law that requires competition for these services, but (the ordinance) demonstrated that it does save taxpayer dollars,” he said.

Tregle provided base auditing service fees paid by three comparable sized parishes in 2011 that averaged about $35,000 as compared to the base $89,700 paid to Pitts and Matte. When including performed audits of the council’s separate reporting entities, just over $168,000 was paid to Pitts and Matte.

“I can’t see how we’d be saving enough to justify a change,” said at-large Councilman Albert Foulcard of District 9.

The resolution offered by Councilman Logan Fromenthal, District 6, and seconded by Steve Bierhorst, at-large District 10, passed on a 9-1-1 vote with Tregle voting no and Councilman David Hanagriff, District 3, absent.

In other business the council:

—Adopted an ordinance on a $2.4 million refinancing bond bought by First National Bank of Jeanerette with a 1.423 percent interest rate. It was the lowest rate of seven bids submitted and will save the parish $165,000 over the remaining life of the bond.

—Adopted an ordinance granting a specific use permit to Foresite Towers LLC to erect a communications tower at 299 Grandwood St., Patterson.

—Signed proclamations designating Oct. 19-28 as Red Ribbon Drug-Free Week and Oct. 7-13 as National 4-H Week; and awarded certificates of appreciation to Carrie Stansbury, Katie Tamporella, Ethel May Hoover, Carol Minor and Camille Clausen for their efforts in making the St. Mary Parish portion of the Louisiana Bicentennial Quilt.

—Passed resolutions on a change order and notice of completion on the Thorguson Road project; a change order and notice of completion on the landfill expansion project; and setting solid waste tipping fees with no increase over the previous year.

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