20 Louisiana towns and cities on the brink of bankruptcy. Can they recover?

Louisiana

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LOUISIANA (KARD/KTVE) — Over 20 towns and small cities in Louisiana are on the brink of declaring bankruptcy.

These cities and towns include parish seats throughout Louisiana. According to Newsbreak.com, most of these towns are dealing with financial distress to a level that threatens their ability to deliver vital services to residents.

State Representative Jack McFarland says, ” In these rural communities you have fewer and fewer people and declining revenue while they’re still trying to maintain the same services and infrastructure.”

McFarland also says the issue with small towns drying up is a systemic problem that won’t go away.

According to the Leesville Daily Leader, “Tallulah, the parish seat of Madison and the largest city on the list with 7,335 people, saw its population decrease by 20% in the 2010 Census and will suffer another precipitous drop when the 2020 Census numbers are verified.

Governor Bel and Rep McFarland both say  strong rural broadband network is essential for any hope of growth.

They continued saying some small towns may have to consolidate into a singular parish seat if there’s any hope of survival.

According to the Leesville Daily leader, the towns listed below are in great financial distress.

Is your city clinging to its financial life?

Following is the list of municipalities the Legislative Auditor as identified as fiscally distressed and it condensed assessment of each?

► Town of Baldwin (population 2,436) in St. Mary Parish: The town has significant problems with its water system and exhibits signs of fiscal distress, as indicated by repeat findings identifying deficit net position/unassigned fund balances and problems with bond reserve and utility rate requirements.

► Village of Bonita (pop. 355) in Morehouse Parish: The village exhibits signs of fiscal distress, as indicated by a significant decrease in net position and cash balances, as well as untimely payment of payroll taxes.

► Village of Clayton (pop. 711) in Concordia Parish: The village was placed under fiscal administration by the Fiscal Review Committee based on a large outstanding loan and utility system problems, but a fiscal administrator has not been appointed.

► Town of Clinton (pop. 1,653) in East Feliciana Parish: The Fiscal Review Committee is monitoring the town for general financial concerns.

► Village of Estherwood (pop. 889) in Acadia Parish: The village exhibits signs of fiscal distress, as indicated by operating deficits in its utility operations, as well as repeat findings identifying problems with operating reserves/ financial monitoring and noncompliance with debt covenants.

► City of Grambling (pop. 4,949) in Lincoln Parish: The city’s audit report notes a going concern relating to a fund balance deficiency in the General Fund resulting from recurring losses from operations.

► Town of Jonesboro (pop. 4,704)  in Jackson Parish: The town had disclaimers on its 2017 and 2018 audit reports and has not yet completed its 2019 or 2020 audit reports, limiting the ability to assess the town’s finances.

► Town of Lake Providence (pop. 3,991, parish seat) in East Carroll Parish: The town’s 2018 audit report notes a going concern relating to significant deficits and corresponding transfers from utility funds. The 2019 and 2020 audit reports have not been completed, limiting the ability to assess the town’s finances.

► Town of LeCompte (pop. 1,227) in Rapides Parish: The town exhibits signs of fiscal distress, as indicated by negative governmental fund balances and late payroll taxes.

► Town of Melville (pop. 1,041) in St. Landry Parish: The Fiscal Review Committee is monitoring the town for water infrastructure and general financial concerns, including outstanding payroll taxes.

 Town of Newellton (pop. 1,187) in Tensas Parish: The town’s 2018 audit report notes a going concern relating to operating deficits. The 2019 and 2020 audit reports have not been completed, limiting the ability to assess the town’s finances.

 Village of Powhatan (pop. 141) in Natchitoches Parish: The village has significant problems with its water system and its 2018 compilation report notes signs of fiscal distress, as indicated by minimal fund balances. The 2019 and 2020 reports have not been completed, limiting the ability to assess the town’s finances.

► Village of South Mansfield (pop. 346) in DeSoto Parish: The village has not filed its 2018, 2019, or 2020 financial reports, thereby meeting the criteria for fiscal administration.

► City of Tallulah (pop. 7,335, parish seat) in Madison Parish: The city has resolved its prior year going concern but still has not resolved all issues relating to its water system and debt covenants.

► Village of Tangipahoa (pop. 748) in Tangipahoa Parish: The village’s review report notes a going concern relating to recurring losses from operations, as well as findings identifying problems with receivables, deposits, billings, and payables.

► Town of Tullos (pop. 385) in LaSalle/Winn parishes: The town has significant problems with its water system.

► Town of Washington (pop. 964) in St. Landry Parish: The town’s 2019 audit report notes a going concern relating to fund balance deficits.

► Town of Waterproof (pop. 688) in Tensas Parish: The town exhibits signs of fiscal distress, as indicated by recurring and significant unreconciled utility receivables.

► City of Winnfield (pop. 5,749, parish seat) in Winn Parish: The city had significant hurricane damage, a disclaimer on its 2018 audit report, and has not completed its 2019 or 2020 audit reports, limiting the ability to assess the city’s finances.

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