Vidalia needs to stop spending, pay debts

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I am concerned about the future of our town and I want you to be aware of why I am concerned. Our city is in debt and our present leaders are placing more debt on us with projects that require matching funds. The citizens of Vidalia will be responsible for the debt for many years.

We need to pay off our debts and then go forward!

I have spent a few hours on my computer on the website: Town of Vidalia, LA Audit 2014. (2015 audit is not available) Here are a few of the findings:

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Statement of net position listed under liabilities (Page 20 on/page 11 on hard copy): Bank overdrafts — $114,363.00

Current year findings for audit for year ending June 30, 2014 (Pages 100-103 on computer/pages 80-84 hard copy)

Finding: The Board has been unable to properly oversee the operations of the town due to absence of timely and accurate financial reporting by management.

Recommendation: The Board insists on receiving timely and accurate financial reports … which should include monthly budget comparison reports.

Finding: During our audit, we noted numerous errors in bank account reconciliations to general ledger.

Recommendation: Bank reconciliations are the cornerstone of accurate financial reporting. We recommend that reconciliations be prepared and reviewed on a monthly basis and in a timely manner.

The above are just two of the auditor’s findings. Some of the same findings and recommendations were found in the 2012 and 2013 audits.

Some funds exceeded the State Revised Statute 39:1311 more than 5 percent.

The budgets for the Police department for these years are as follows:

2008 — $1,402,217.00

2010 — $1,878,433.00

2012 — $2,315,978.00

2014 — $2,416.600.00

This represents an increase in expenditures of $1,014,383 in the last six years.

In the past year, it was revealed that our town owed the IRS back payments of $635,000. There was a federal tax lien against our town. The lien was paid with Hydro-electric funds.

When I and others requested financial figures, it took a long time to get them. Now I know why. Timely and accurate figures were not available and our present board of aldermen did not/do not demand accurate and timely/monthly financial reporting.

The 2014 audit (page 46 on computer and page 33 on hardcopy) showed our town’s bonded indebtedness to be $12,479,569. These general obligation bonds are secured by a pledge of excess municipal revenues and included but not limited to the Hydro Royalty Fund. In 2016, a payment of $3,937,717 will be due on this debt.

I have other grievances such as the non-compliance with Hydro-electric ordinance, specifically the omission of the two required meetings, rebates, and the use of the funds for the general operation of the town or for projects that require full funding and or matching funds. I, as well as many others, are opposed to the proposal for the Square on Carter Street, which will put the town in debt for many years.

Our present officials have been in office too long and have turned a deaf ear to the wants and needs of our people and city. Budgets, salaries and expenditures by departments are too large, over budget and frivolous.

We have the opportunity to make a clean sweep in the up-coming election. We have good choices for all the positions. I ask you to please consider a new slate of people to govern our city.

Thank you.


Corinne Randazzo

Vidalia resident