- Associated Press - Sunday, August 10, 2014

OBERLIN, La. (AP) - An annual audit of the Allen Parish Police Jury shows government to be in good financial standing with little debt and a slight deficit.

The American Press reported (https://bit.ly/1eOXZNb) the audit was conducted by Tim Gates of the Sulphur firm Stutzman and Gates and was released Aug. 4 by the legislative auditor’s office. It covers the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2013.

Police Jury Secretary-Treasurer Colleen Sonnier said Allen overall is in good financial shape and has little debt.

The parish owes only about $300,000, she said. Most of the debt is owed by some of the road districts for equipment, including a tractor.

Sonnier said rising sales tax collections indicate Allen’s economy is improving.

The audit does not include other components of jury operations, including water boards and fire districts, which led to auditors issuing an adverse opinion.

In most cases an adverse opinion is considered a negative. In this case, the adverse opinion was issued because like many police juries, the Allen jury did not include all component units of government.

Among other findings, auditors said the jury did not pay into the bond issue retirement fund, known as a sinking fund, or bond fees on time.

The jury missed the payment by a month because proceeds from the first tax revenue sufficient to pay the principal, interest and agent fees due in 2013 were not transferred into the sinking fund until February 2013.

The jury had sufficient tax revenue in January 2013 to comply with the requirements, but did not deposit the money into the sinking funds.

“It happens,” Sonnier said, stressing that it was not done intentionally. “It was an administrative oversight. It was done in February rather than January.”

Failure to comply with the debt covenants could affect the jury’s ability to borrow money or jeopardize the status of current bonds, according to the auditor.

The audit also found three separate funds that have deficits totaling nearly $20,000. About half the total deficit is in the parish road fund.

The parish road fund has run a deficit in recent years though revenue has improved, Sonnier said.

Deficits were also reported in the coroner’s fund and airport fund.

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Information from: American Press, https://www.americanpress.com

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