MELVILLE, La. (KLFY) – A state audit has revealed that a town in St. Landry Parish is having trouble getting its fiscal act together.
An audit conducted by an independent auditing firm on the Town of Melville revealed it is still suffering financially, even after Parish President Jessie Bellard and the St. Landry Parish Government stepped in to help.
After revealing it is in over $300K in debt, the Town of Melville faces the possibility of being taken over by the state, according to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.
The audit was conducted by Kolder, Slaven and Company, LLC, of Abbeville.
In the audit, for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020, there were ten findings, including five repeated from past years.
“The auditor found that the Town lacked adequate segregation of duties for its accounting functions, lacked adequate internal controls and policies and procedures for its financial operations, and lacked adequate documentation for many of its expenditures,” the audit read. “In addition, the Town did not have a comprehensive list of its capital assets, failed to pay its payroll taxes in a timely manner, did not have adequate funds available to pay its utility customer deposit liability, and failed to collect on overdue utility accounts.”
According to the audit, Melville did not keep track of the minutes of its meetings, deposit funds into reserve accounts as required and failed to file its financial statements with the Legislative Auditor’s office in the appropriate amount of time.
In the town’s response, Melville Town Clerk Thomas Jung said “the town has hired an assistant clerk to help with segregation of duties and will be implementing monitoring and training activities to ensure that financial reporting is properly performed.”
The town will also be doing payroll tax deposits electronically by the town accountant.
Additionally, Jung said “customer water/gas deposits will be printed and reconciled monthly.”
Collecting payment for water and gas bills has been a longtime priority in Melville, which Bellard is trying to fix.
In a previous interview, Bellard said “our team is already addressing that now. They have started collecting water bills and gas bills that have not been collected all year. Without any revenue coming in it’s hard to pay your bills.”