Independent audit released for City of Vidalia finances
NATCHEZ — An independent audit released Monday shows that the City of Vidalia overspent its budget in several areas, paid multiple invoices more than once and could not meet its customer deposit obligations in 2012.
The independent audit, which was conducted by Silas Simmons, was for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 and was dated March 15, 2013.
The report found that five funds were out of compliance with Louisiana law, which requires that expenditures not exceed the budget by 5 percent.
Those funds included:
-The Hydro Royalty Fund, which exceeded its $10 million budget by 15 percent. A total of $11,473,180 was spent.
-The Ambulance Fund exceeded its $477,500 budget by 27 percent. A total of $606,814 was spent.
-The Town Court Fund exceeded its $145,000 budget by 31 percent. A total of $190,657 was spent.
-The Roadway Improvement Fund exceeded its budget by 100 percent. No money was budgeted for the fund, but $1,096,536 was spent from it.
-The Polk Park fund exceeded its budget by 100 percent. No money was budgeted for he fund, but $471,196 was spent from it.
The audit also states that the city’s utility fund did not have enough money to cover customer deposits and was underfunded by $94,914.
The audit indicates Vidalia’s corrective action for that finding will be that, “Vidalia will closely monitor the funding coverage during the year to determine if internal loans or transfers are required to ensure that the restricted cash balance exceeds the customer deposit obligation.”
The report likewise said that the auditors found “numerous” invoices that had been paid more than once, and recommended that the city review and revise its control system over payables to ensure such double payments do not continue in the future.
Other findings in the report were related to the city’s inability to get bookkeeping information to external auditors in time to complete the audit, which the audit states was due in part to the departure of former City Manager Ken Walker in 2012.
The audit states the problems were being addressed with the hire of a permanent replacement for the city’s chief bookkeeper.