On August 1st, Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson and Mayor Pro Tempere, Nia Evans Johnson, received a correspondence from Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA), Michael J. Waguespack. The opinion that was disseminated allowed for a couple of interpretations to be construed. In summary and borrowing from the old Clint Eastwood classic film, the information received could be classified as: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The Good: Waguespack confirmed that the most recent audit submitted on fiscal year ending 6/30/2021 showed that the Town of Jonesboro was in compliance with audit law. It was also stated that the LLA had discontinued the monthly fiscal and grants monitoring process. This was welcome news since for several years the town has been out of compliance.
The Bad: The correspondence also stated that the LLA was concerned about the Town’s poor fiscal health. It was also noted that the Town’s financial condition would be even worse than what was reported in the 2021 audit were it not for the influx of ARPA funds.
The Ugly: Waguespack recommended the Town take immediate action to resolve utility billing procedures and especially problems associated with meter reading and billing. As the Legislative Auditor clearly identified, utility revenue collections is significant to the Town’s fiscal health.
This has been known by local officials ever since they took office but despite the problem being brought
to the forefront in Town Council meetings many times over the past several years sadly, nothing but
continued banter has ever been the result. For the record it has been many years since meters have
been able to be accurately read because of their inoperable condition. Each month the town loses
revenue due to this when it should be a major revenue source.
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