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|Town of Clayton, mayor cited in financial report|
The Town of Clayton has been cited in a newly-released financial report for misusing road tax funds, while Mayor Rydell Turner is cited for spending $2,820 on gasoline for his personal vehicle in 2011 without documentation to support the purchases.
Other citings are made in the report.
Turner said he's reviewed the audit and is willing to make any corrections that need to be made.
"We learn from our mistakes and hope that 2012 will give us a better year," he said. "My goal has always been to help improve Clayton and to bring in new businesses and new jobs."
Turner said he consulted both the Police Jury and the bonding attorney for the Jury's parishwide road tax fund about using some of those monies for drainage and was told "there would be nothing wrong with it."
The parish's four towns receive a percentage of the Jury's 1.5 percent parishwide road sales tax for hardsurfacing. According to the financial report filed by the CPA firm of Silas Simmons in Natchez, road tax funds can only be used for "incidental" drainage work.
"We were told we could use the road tax money for drainage work," Turner said. "We've had a lot of drainage problems in Clayton for quite some time. During heavy rains people's houses and yards get flooded. So we used the money for drainage and bought some equipment to help with the work."
He said he plans to seek an Attorney General's opinion on whether the town properly spent road tax funds.
Assistant Legislative Auditor Allen Brown said he's reviewed Clayton's financial report.
"It gives us great concern about the use of the taxpayer dollars," he said.
The financial report by Silas Simmons of Natchez covers the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 and was released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor on Dec. 28.
The report recommended that Turner reimburse the town for the gas expenditures totaling $2,820 for his personal car and that he not "purchase gasoline for his personal automobile."
Re-elected to his second four-year term last fall without opposition, Turner said his gasoline purchases were no different in 2011 than they were in previous years.
"I use my own vehicle," he said. "The town doesn't pay my insurance and I incur a lot of expense in the use of my car. From now on we will document and sign off on the gasoline."
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