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EPPJ discusses 2016 audit report at recent meeting

By: TONY MARKS
Associate Editor

Vic Slaven of Kolder, Champagne, Slaven and Company complimented the Evangeline Parish Police Jury on a very good Annual Audit Report for the 2016 fiscal year.
“You operated the general fund without a deficit which is a good thing especially in today’s times because money is short,” Slaven said as he addressed the jury at its regular monthly meeting Monday night. “It’s tough to manage without over spending.”
Slaven told the jury that it ended the last fiscal year with total assets of $2,046,000.00, total liabilities of $549,000.00, and a general fund surplus of $1,497,000.00. That amount, according to Slaven, is “unassigned and free and clear for you to spend.”
The total fund balance is $16,000,000.00. “You have fund balances from some of the other governmental entities that are all restricted or committed for specific purposes, but the only one that you have discretion to spend at the will of the jury is the general fund balance.”
Slaven also advised the jury about the findings of the annual report. The first finding is a “lack of segregation of duties and the fact that you don’t have an individual that can prepare this financial statement.”
“The other finding is regarding the sewer system in Police Jury Ward 1,” Slaven continued. “Services should be provided and collected in accordance with Section 10 of the resolution approved by the police jury, and you are still making efforts to try to do that. It looks like it’s getting a little bit better, but you’re still falling short a little bit.”
As the jury progressed down its agenda of the regular meeting, it endorsed a resolution to support a potential manufacturing plant in the parish. “Last year the state tightened up some and can no longer give away municipalities’ taxes,” said Secretary-Treasurer Donald Bergeron. “They require the municipalities to sign off on any potential tax breaks. We’ve already discussed the fact that we are not at liberty to give away sales tax breaks. The only potential thing would be a discussion of millage, but it’s still too premature to discuss that at this time.”
According to Bergeron, the plant would be a $10 million investment located in Ward 2. The plant would employ approximately 20 full time employees with salaries ranging from $40 thousand to $50 thousand.
Bergeron in his Secretary-Teasurer’s Report advised the jury that Evangeline Parish residents affected by the flooding in August are eligible for assistance from the state’s Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery. “It’s designed to help homeowners rebuild regardless if they started on their rebuilding or if they are waiting to rebuild,” Bergeron stated. “There is money available to help our homeowners rebuild. We just want to let Evangeline Parish residents know that they are qualified for it.”
In a letter from Governor John Bel Edwards addressed to Police Jury President Ryan Ardoin, the governor states in part, “Our records show that 527 households in your parish had a FEMA verified loss resulting from the 2016 floods, yet only 28 have completed the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program survey as of June 5, 2017. This means that 95% have yet to take the first step in receiving this much-needed assistance. It is critical that we work together to help as many of our citizens as possible. Great things happen when we unite around a common goal.”
Also in his report, Bergeron advised the jury that work has begun on the installation of security cameras inside the courthouse and advised that the warden has requested additional cameras in Cells 4 and 6, where the prisoners are walked upstairs to go into the jury room, and in the laundry room. “If we did that, then all of the areas where people can go in and hide will be covered,” he said.
In other business, the police jury:
•set a local meeting on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, at 1 p.m. with Acadiana Planning Commission, FEMA Disaster Recovery, FEMA Mitigation, Office of Community Development, GOSHEP, and officials from Evangeline and Acadia Parishes to discuss flooding issues.
•approved the reappointment of Rita Drummond to the Evangeline Parish Water District #1 Board.
•and appointed Karen Griffith to replace Kevin Olivier on the Ferguson Cemetary Board.

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