PLAQUEMINE — The Iberville Parish Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to consider a proposed ordinance seeking to abolish Waterworks District No. 2.
The council’s action followed reports of questionable financial practices by the water district’s former employees turned up by auditors.
The council plans to hold a public hearing and vote on the proposed ordinance during its Sept. 18 meeting.
The water district, created in 1960, is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners.
According to a study the administration presented, the Parish Council needs to abolish the water district serving about 2,000 customers in the St. Gabriel area in order to restore sound financial management and public confidence.
Placing the day-to-day operations and oversight of water service in the district under the parish’s Utility Department is the most “cost-effective” solution to the problem, the study says.
According to the proposed ordinance, the parish will absorb the water district’s outstanding debts. The parish will pay the debts with the district’s remaining funds. Any remaining debts would be paid by revenue generated through water sales and other payments due to the district, the ordinance states.
Waterworks District No. 2 owes about $2.1 million, but has about $2 million sitting in its cash accounts, according to the study.
Last month, the state legislative auditor placed the water district on its noncompliance list, barring the district from receiving any additional federal or state funding because accountants deemed the district’s financial records were “unauditable.”
Auditors told the council they found more than $80,000 in unpaid invoices and could not account for nearly $300,000 of a $3.2 million state loan the district received for a Safe Drinking Water project.
The district’s status won’t change until the parish takes corrective action and submits adequate records that can be audited, officials said.
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