A public accountant gave the City of Leesville’s audit report at Monday’s Council meeting, covering the 2017 fiscal year from March 1 through June 31.

C. Burton Kolder, of Kolder, Champagne, Slaven & Co., said, “The overall position of the city has improved.”

In 2016, the City had 120 days of funds available for operating costs – about four months’ worth. Currently the City has increased that number and has 143 days’ worth available.

One area for concern, which did at times lead to a loss in revenue, was due to computer problems. “During the year, the City experienced two computer system crashes in which substantial data was lost resulting from a failure of the backup system,” states a letter making recommendations to the City. “This lost data was re-entered by City personnel from hard copy reports.”

The letter suggests backup systems be put in place and regularly evaluated in order to safeguard City data.  

Kolder recommended Leesville review operations to determine methods to increase revenues or reduce expenditures in the areas of Public Safety and Sewer Enterprise Funds – both of which experienced a deficit.

The Public Safety Fund’s deficit during the year was $814,074 increasing its balance deficit to $1,154,381.

The Sewer Enterprise Fund experienced an operating loss of $138,510.

One section of the audit report not discussed at the meeting refers to “an employee of the City, charged with processing payroll, attempted to commit payroll fraud.” She manipulated tax deduction from her pay in an effort to increase net pay.

“This payroll manipulation was not timely detected due to inadequate controls over the review and supervision of the payroll process,” the audit states.

The Leesville Police Department, District Attorney, and Legislative Auditor’s office were notified when the payroll irregularities were discovered.

An internal investigation was performed and disciplinary action was taken. The employee resigned her employment on Feb. 3, 2017, the report states.

After the meeting, Kolder said he did not include this incident in his summary before City Council because it had little to no impact on the numbers. In the employee’s attempt to commit payroll fraud, she was ultimately unsuccessful, hence no restitution was required.

“Even though there was a $1.5 million deficit this year, you are on the upswing,” Kolder said at the meeting. If things proceed the way they did in 2017, he believes it will take three to four years to remove or reduce the deficit. “You should be on target now,” he said.