Ferriday mayor: Audit being addressed

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ferriday — Mayor Gene Allen said the problems with the water department found in an audit of the last fiscal year are currently being addressed.

According to Miles Hopkins of Switzer Hopkins and Mange certified public accountants office, the audit shows uncertainty in the town’s water consumption.

The consumption of water does not match up with the billing, Hopkins said.

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The information Hopkins presented directly correlates what was reviewed last Wednesday when representatives from the state auditor’s office and the attorney general’s office visited Town Hall, locking the doors behind them.

The auditors said they were present to review the water system.

Their reviews of the audit showed that the water department was losing money.

Mayor Gene Allen said last week that the problems with financial reports dealt with bills not being paid and people who received credit for being billed improperly.

During Tuesday’s meeting Allen said this is an age-old problem.

“It’s nothing uncommon,” he said. “This has been going on before this administration was in place.”

Allen said Hopkins has been bringing this issue up for 10 or 12 years and now they are going to work toward fixing the two-pronged problem.

The first problem is the that one employee has too much control and there is no system of checks and balances.

“One employee would have complete control over the transaction from beginning to end,” Hopkins said.

Allen said the system was designed to handle 5,000 customers, which they don’t have, so they are not bringing in enough revenue to maintain a large staff.

Allen said they are currently working on a way to have a system of checks and balances.

The other problem is a technical problem in the system of reading meters and computer glitches.

There are five different meters and they are not on the same computer system.

“What we intend to do is have all the meters set to the same computer system and billing system,” Allen said.

This should remedy the flaws, he said.

“We’ve got some computer problems too,” he said referring to the glitches.

But he said this will be fixed in switching to the new computerized system.

In other business:

4A $54,500 bid from D.C Lamarr Contracting to make indoor renovations and roof repair to the gym on Florida Street was discussed.

The board voted to have the recreation committee look over the bid and make a recommendation to the board.

4 The board met in executive session for approximately 10 minutes to discuss litigation.

Ferriday has been in a dispute with Crescent Chemicals, a water treatment plant, over an unpaid bill.

The dispute began in the last administration, City Attorney Derrick Carson said.

The chemical company said the city owed them $85,000 and that amount was paid by the last administration. The company came back and said that they owed them over $100,000, not $85,000.

Carson said there was no documentation over the amount.

“We’ve been trying to ascertain exactly how much money is actually owed to these people because the town doesn’t want to overpay,” Carson said.

Carson said the company has been talking about reaching a settlement.

The board came out of executive session with the decision to offer a settlement to Crescent Chemicals in the amount of $20,000.