State auditor releases report for City of Opelousas

Associated Press
Associated Press(Source: Associated Press)
Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 3:37 PM CDT
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OPELOUSAS, La. (KALB) - The State Legislative Auditors office released its annual report for the City of Opelousas. The audit made note of eight findings, five repeated from the following year.

The audit examined the city’s budgets for the last fiscal year, ending in August 2020. Some of the repeated problems included in the audit were discrepancies with purchasing procedures.

“In our examination of the City’s purchasing procedures, we found numerous incidents in which the Police Department failed to obtain purchase orders as required by the purchasing policy,” the audit stated. “Officers were found to be making several purchases within one day, each under the $300 purchase order requirement threshold in an apparent effort to avoid obtaining a purchase order.”

The administration plans to improve communication with the police department on purchasing. Also, city officials note that now, ”no one will be allowed to make multiple purchases within one day.”

In addition, the audit found the city is not “consistently utilizing the electronic timekeeping system.” That could lead to paying employees for hours they didn’t work.

To correct the issue, the audit states the city updated its electronic timekeeping system.

The audit also made note of financial issues with city accounts and paying items late stating “several invoices after the due date resulting in late fees being assessed.”

Also, the audit found delinquent fees to the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Louisiana cost the city $8,645. The auditor said those fees were occurred because of “late submission of monthly reports and contributions for the period April 2018 through March 2020.”

In addition to the fees, the audit report said paying the retirement system late “increases the risk of court actions being taken and amounts owed being deducted from any other monies due to the City from other departments of agencies of the state.”

Also, the audit claims the city did not “maintain a sufficient cash balance in its customer deposit bank account to adequately cover the customer deposit liability.” The auditor said not having the funds could prevent the city from timely repaying customer deposits.

Other findings include the city selling “assets at auction that had not yet been declared surplus property by the City Council.” The audit states the city also did not advertise the items to be sold at auction-- which is required by law.

The audit also found compliance issues with the Budget Act. The full report can be read here.

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