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State Auditor report details financial problems in Allen Parish town

The Legislative Auditor report released Monday details 18 findings for the Town of Oberlin in...
The Legislative Auditor report released Monday details 18 findings for the Town of Oberlin in Allen Parish.(Source: Associated Press)
Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 12:43 PM CST
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ALLEN PARISH, La. (KALB) - The Legislative Auditor report released Monday details 18 findings for the Town of Oberlin in Allen Parish.

Some of the findings include violations of the Louisiana Government Budget Act, not keeping accurate information related to utility payments for citizens and not paying debts on time.

The audit report states, ”The Town does not have complete and accurate records for customer meter deposits, and the meter deposit bank account balances are not reconciled monthly with a detailed listing of customers’ meter deposits.”

Also, the audit found inconsistencies with the town’s cut-off policy for utilities. It states Oberlin did not, “properly followed its written policies and procedures regarding past due accounts and the proper cut-off procedures to disconnect services relating to nonpayment by customers,” the auditor said.

In addition, the audit claimed the town made several payments - some resulting in fees. The town was docked for Late Payment of Invoices, Late Payment of Sales Tax Collections and for Delinquent Filing/Payment of Payroll Taxes.

“The Town was assessed penalties and interest totaling $82 for the late payment of unemployment taxes applicable to tax periods December 31, 2018, and March 31, 2019,” the auditor said.

Furthermore, the auditor noted several accounts without adequate financial record keeping.

“The Town did not maintain accurate financial accounting records during the year, including accurate support for disbursements.”

The audit also accuses the town of not preparing bank reconciliations for all months during the fiscal year. Those accounts were its Sales Tax Emergency Reserve, Sewer Short-Lived Assets, Sewer Bond Reserve, and Sewer Bond Contingency.

The audit also made note of four violations of the Louisiana Government Budget Act.

  1. Noncompliance with Bond Agreement
  2. Noncompliance with Budget Act
  3. Noncompliance with Budget Act – Budget Message
  4. Noncompliance with Budget Act – Public Participation

Also related to the budget, the auditor said the city failed to publish the adopted budget in a timely manner. In fact, it was more than 100 days late.

“The Town did not publish the adopted fiscal 2020 amended budget in the official journal within twenty (20) days from adoption as required by LSA RS 43:144. Notice of the adoption of the fiscal year 2020 amended budget was published one hundred twenty-nine (129) days after adoption.”

In the audit, leaders in Oberlin outlined corrective actions for each of the auditor’s findings.

Click here to read the full audit.

Click here to report a typo.

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