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|St. Joseph cited in financial report|
A Vicksburg, Miss., accounting firm said the Town of St. Joseph was not issuing proper control over its finances and issued five findings in a 54-page financial report released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor on March 4.
The Halford Firm, PLLC, a certified public accounting firm, reported that the St. Joseph's assets exceeded liabilities by $3,172,894 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, a net decrease of $301,553 from the year before. The town's governmental fund account ended the year with $90,618, up $1,871 from the year prior.
The Halford Firm said deficiencies described in its schedule of findings and responses were "significant deficiencies in internal control and financial reporting."
The report noted five reportable conditions in internal control over financial reporting as follows:
-- The town does not have "proper segregation of duties over cash receipts, disbursements, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. Although a town clerk was hired, the mayor does all of the accounting with the exception of receiving the customer payments and making the daily deposits." The Halford Firm said "fiscal affairs of the town require more attention."
-- The town does not "reconcile subsidiary ledgers to the general ledger in a timely manner." The accounting firm recommended that the town reconcile bank statements within 30 days of receipt as well as other ledgers.
-- The town does not "maintain adequate purchasing/accounts payable system, particularly the use of the town's MasterCard." The Halford Firm recommended "implementing a basic purchase order system," as well as "a thorough review of all MasterCard charges to ensue proper authorization and adequate documentation of all charges."
-- The town pays "unnecessary penalties and interest" to the Internal Revenue Service because it does not always comply with the IRS' "deposit rule" in that the town is "required to remit payroll taxes generally within three days after the liability arises." The Halford Firm said the town should adhere to IRS payroll tax remittance requirements.
-- The town's audit report was filed after the Dec. 31, 2008, deadline, noting that the "accounting records were not complete enough for an audit to be performed within the required time."
The town said he was working to comply with each finding.
St. Joseph's mayor is Edward Brown and aldermen include Theodore Jackson, Diane Yarrington, Jimmy S. Clark, Jack Grace Jr. and A.E. Tindell.
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