OPELOUSAS — Two parishwide property taxes will be up for 10-year renewals on the May 3 ballot, the St. Landry Parish School Board decided Thursday.
One proposition of 11.78 mills generates $7 million annually for employee salaries and benefits. The other proposition is 4.37 mills and it provides the district with $2.6 million a year for maintenance.
Superintendent Edward Brown told the board that passage of both millage propositions are essential to maintaining the operation of the school district. Brown urged the board members and school employees to “push this tax.”
Board attorney Gerard Caswell said the millage for maintenance is scheduled to expire Dec. 31.
The tax for salaries does not expire until Dec. 31, 2015, but Caswell said bonding attorney Eric Lafleur received approval from the state Bond Commission to place the millage for salaries and benefits on the May 3 ballot.
“Placing both of the tax calls in the same election will save (the school district) money in election costs,” Caswell said.
None of the board members discussed the issue before voting.
Also Thursday, Kenneth Pavy, representing John S. Dowling & Co., an Opelousas accounting firm, discussed the findings of the district’s financial audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013.
Pavy also presented the audit findings at a Jan. 27 Finance Committee meeting. The committee voted to have Pavy present the audit report at Thursday’s regular meeting with the entire board present.
Pavy said the audit indicates the district has made “significant improvement” in its financial situation compared with three years ago when St. Landry was facing a projected $4 million general fund deficit.
“You are getting better steadily over the past couple of years,” Pavy said.
Pavy also said the district needs to improve its process of monitoring fixed assets and develop a better backup system for its software applications.
According to the audit, the district did not conduct a physical inventory of fixed assets for the June 30, 2013 fiscal year.
“For good internal controls and to be in compliance with St. Landry School Board policy, there should be a physical inventory of possessions at least annually, but may be more frequently if needed,” the audit report said.
The audit report also said that the district is “at risk of loss of substantial data that would require significant time and effort to recreate in the absence of adequate (software) backups,” the report said.
None of the board members had any comments on the audit report.