Mamou council receives positive audit report
By: NICK JAGNEAUX
At its regular monthly meeting Wednesday evening, the Mamou Town Council received a very positive audit report for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016.
Burton Kolder, a certified public accountant with Kolder, Champagne, Slaven & Company, told the Council, “This is a good report. Your management has a good handle on (the town’s finances). Keep up the good work.”
Kolder reported that the Town received nearly two percent more revenue than budgeted, while spending more than three percent less than budgeted.
“Both of those numbers are in the right direction,” Kolder told the Council. “Continue to do what you’ve been doing.”
In addition, the Town has an unrestricted surplus of $2.3 million. Kolder said that this represents enough money to operate the Town for eight months. Municipalities are required to have only a two-month reserve. “So, you have six times more than you are required to have,” Kolder said.
The one area of concern is in the gas department, which historically has shown a loss. Last year, the Town showed a 21 percent loss in the gas department. While this number is down from 2015, Kolder encouraged the Council to continue its efforts to identify the source of the loss.
“For every five percent you reduce the loss, you could save $10,000,” Kolder said.
After the meeting, Mayor Ricky Fontenot said that the Town has been struggling to identify the reason for the loss in the gas department for nearly two decades. However, a method for identifying the problem is on the way.
Fontenot said that the Town will be dividing the gas system into four parts. In each part, a check meter will be placed near the distribution point. The check meter will measure the total gas used along that line.
At the end of the month, the total of the check meter will be matched against the combined usage recorded at individual meters. This will allow the Town to identify the area where the losses are occurring and concentrate their efforts to fix the problem.
“It’s not a loss coming from a leak,” Fontenot said. “The loss is too big, and somebody would have noticed it.”
The mayor hesitated to speculate on where the unaccounted gas could be going, preferring to wait for concrete results. However, he did note that in the past gas lines were installed without being properly labeled on maps. Possibly some of these old lines are still operational, but are not metered.
In other business, the Council moved a part-time policeman to fulltime and hired two new part-time dispatchers in the police department.
Police Chief Brent Zackery noted that it is difficult to find people who want to do police work in the current climate of perceived tense relations between the police and the general public.
The Council also appointed Dr. Jason Chambers to as a Trustee of the Savoy Medical Management Group. The rural clinic doctor is replacing Dr. Brent Ardoin.