Winnsboro’s 2019 governmental funds increased 41 percent in comparison to the prior year, according to an audit report released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office.
Governmental funds reported a combined ending fund balances of approximately $1.6 million an increase of $475,158 from last year, according to the audit.
Assets also exceeded Winnsboro’s liabilities by some $6 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, according to the audit.
The audit report also showed Winnsboro resolved all nine findings from the 2018 audit report.
“The team that I have with me really hustled,” said Winnsboro Mayor Sonny Dumas. “There were times that we thought we weren’t going to make it. The things that were done I have to contribute to Julia (Jackson). We recognized there were some issues that were difficult, but we had to overcome the bad with the good.”
Winnsboro’s total net position totaled approximately $8.3 million, according to the audit. Total liabilities were $11.1 million while total assets were $19.1 million.
The largest amount of Winnsboro’s net position reflects its investment in capital assets of $12.8 million, according to the audit. Capital assets include land, buildings, machinery and equipment.
Winnsboro recorded nearly $5.2 million in total revenues for fiscal year 2019, according to the audit. This was up from last year’s total of $3.9 million.
Taxes, which provided some $3.4 million or 66 percent of revenue, were the largest source of general revenues for Winnsboro, according to the audit.
Capital grants were second largest source at $699,254 while Winnsboro received $428,341 from license and permits, according to the audit.
Winnsboro collected $1.8 million in business-type activities for 2019, according to the audit. This number was up by $51,315 from the previous year. Business-type activities account for utility charges.
Total expenditures dropped nearly $2 million from the previous year’s total of $5.2 million. Winnsboro spent a total of almost $3.3 million in 2019.
Winnsboro’s largest expense was listed in general government at $1,013,008 followed by public safety at $884,385 then federal grant expense at $699,254, according to the audit.
Public works had expenses totaling $534,125 for 2019.
Additionally, Winnsboro’s governmental activities have two long-term bond debts as of June 30, 2019 which were a $150,000 general obligation bond and another $40,000 general obligation bond, according to the audit. A 4 percent interest rate is being charged and the outstanding balance is $21,286 as of June 30, 2019.
“We are finding ourselves not debt free but on time with our payments,” Dumas said. “We have a few that we are still negotiating with, but for the most part we are able to see the light and work forward in paying the bills. We not home yet, but we are striving to get there.”
Winnsboro’s business-type activities have three long-term bond debts, which was a $840,000 USDA sewer revenue bond, $3 million USDA water revenue bond and a $851,757 Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality sewer revenue bond, according to the audit.
The USDA sewer revenue bond is due $4,091 monthly at five percent interest while the USDA water revenue bond is due $13,866 monthly at 4.5 percent interest.
The Louisiana DEQ sewer revenue bond is due $4,547 monthly at 4.5 percent interest.
J. Walker & Company of Lake Charles performed the independent audit and gave Winnsboro an unmodified opinion on the financial statements.
Audits found one material weakness and one instance of noncompliance.
One finding was under general accounting.
“During our testing of expenses for the year ended June 30, 2019, we noted that capital outlay totaling $946,122, and equipment totaling $131,225 were expensed instead of capitalized in according with the Town’s $1,000 threshold policy,” according to the audit.
Louisiana law requires a municipality to maintain records to its capital assets. Failure to identify and periodically account for municipality assets / property exposes the municipality to possible loss, theft and misuse of its assets, according to the audit.
Auditors recommended Winnsboro continue to strengthen implementation of internal controls over capital assets to ensure records are accurate and complete and properly reflect in Winnsboro’s financial statements.
Winnsboro officials responded, “Beginning July 1, 2019, the Town of Winnsboro will make sure that our accounting statements recognize the differences between fixed assets, day-to-day expenses and capital outlay expenditures and make sure that they are properly coded in our general ledger.”
The second finding had to do with a vehicle purchased without being advertised or obtained from Louisiana’s procurement list.
Auditors suggested management should annually review all items purchased and consider soliciting bids for such items to ensure the lowest possible prices and to ensure compliance with state bid law.
Winnsboro officials responded, “Beginning July 1, 2019, management will purchase equipment in accordance with State statutes to stay in compliance with the public bid law.”
The truck in question was purchased for a mayor’s vehicle but also as a multi-use vehicle for other town employees to use as they travel to training seminars and pickup needed equipment and parts, Dumas said.
“I felt like I should purchase a vehicle for the team that everybody should use,” Dumas said. “The fire department, street department and we have used it. The procedure that was used to get the truck was not necessarily the procedure the auditors wanted us to go through. It didn’t hurt anything, but it didn’t show the necessary procedure was done. They wanted us to go through fleet management.”
The six-cylinder truck was purchased for approximately $27,000 from a local dealer, Dumas said.
“I got it at a very reasonable price,” Dumas said.
Additionally, Winnsboro officials resolved all nine findings from the previous year, according to the audit. Findings dealt with bank reconciliation, failure to timely file audit report, unclaimed property, adjusting journal entries and accounts receivable.
Other findings resolved were customer deposits, transfers, payroll taxes and retirement payments.
“We were rushing to try to get things ready for the previous audit,” Dumas said. “It was a double-year process. We also had to clear up the items that weren’t ours, and we were working in the blind. We had to carry that year’s mistakes along with ours, but had to clean them up to move forward.”
Dumas said Winnsboro’s audit was a community-wide endeavor.
“We have to give credit not only to the team and the administration but to the people and to those bankers and lending institutions throughout the parish including the Police Jury who assisted us with their equipment,” Dumas said. “I am thankful to everybody that assisted us, and we are going to continue to strive to keep going and make our best better.”