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|Mayor, council discuss Ferriday audit|
The Ferriday Town Council spent most of its meeting Tuesday night discussing a audit recently released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007.
CPA Myles Hopkins told the town there was a problem with the water billing system, which led to the Legislative Auditor taking computers from the town on March 5.
"I have been unable to understand how much water consumption has been billed," Hopkins said, noting that the town had $1,790,762 on hand as of June 30, "but a lot of that is restricted for paying bonds and to the police department. There is also a long-term debt of $3,800,000 sewer note and a $67,000 water note each year," Hopkins said.
"But we found no problem with the government-type funds in town hall," he said.
Allen stressed the problems with the water system billing has been an annual problem for several years and one the board has attempted to correct in the past.
"We do not have any outstanding debts currently and to have a million dollars at the end of the fiscal year is something we can be proud of and I thank the board for helping run the city in a positive way."
According to the audit, Hopkins suggested more than one person handle the water billing system and Town Clerk Shannon Beatty will now assist in the bill ing and recording of funds.
"There is nothing abnormal about our water billing system," Allen said. "The last four audits said the same thing. We have some internal problems with mistakes in putting in numbers, but we also have computer glitches. Even when the auditors were here we had computer problems. We have identified the problems the auditors brought to our attention and we're separating some of the duties.
"We are going to a computer scan program in which meter readers will scan meters and bring them back and put them into the computers, which will help alleviate some of the human errors," he said. "We've got five different meters right now and they all work in different ways. We have internal control problems, but we also have technical problems with computers."
Beatty said future town clerks will now have a description of their duties, which will also help future clerks know their responsibilities.
Allen said the town will put in writing its response to the legislative auditor's findings and will send them off in the mail by March 21. Allen said the town also received a "nasty" letter from auditors for the audit being late.
Hopkins said heart surgery last year piled up his work, but he had asked for an extension to February 1 and took blame for the audit being late in the report.
The board came out of executive session with the decision to offer a settlement to Crescent Chemicals in the amount of $20,000.
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