Gibsland audit reveals town money issues not over just yet

Gibsland audit reveals town money issues not over just yet

GIBSLAND, LA (KSLA) - After a rough few years financially and even help from the state, a recent audit shows the Town of Gibsland may not be completely free of money woes just yet.

The Gibsland Town Hall was raided by the Bienville Parish Sheriff's Office two years ago after money and records were missing. A short time later, the mayor at the time, Odell Key was arrested and pleaded guilty to malfeasance in office.

With the town in $300,000 worth of debt, state leaders asked the courts to appoint accountant David Greer to help out as fiscal administrator. Greer started his duties on November 20, 2013.

"The books and records were a mess," Greer explained.

Part of the problem was the town didn't have a clerk keeping records at all. The town hadn't even kept a budget in several years.

When Greer took over, the revenue of the town was not sufficient to pay their operating expenses and the debt that had been accumulated. His first priority was to pay off the debts and get the town organized, and according to Greer, things are looking up now.

"We have a town clerk now. We have an adopted budget now. We have financial statements. We have transactions that are posted each and every month now and we're paying off debt. We're getting back to normal so to speak," says Greer.

However, the town's most recent audit shows there are still some lingering issues. The audit reveals the town has a deficit of nearly $23,000 and has had issues with record keeping. But Greer says most of that reflects what happened before he got there.

"Even though I went in November, over half of the fiscal year had already passed when I stepped in," Greer explained.

Since, Greer has hired and trained a town clerk to keep records the right way.

"The records going forward are good, but the records from the past are a mess," says Greer.

Greer feels the town is doing so well he plans to ask the court to release him as the fiscal administrator in February.

"They can take things forward from here. They have a new town clerk, they have a new mayor, they have a new board alderman, there isn't a whole lot I can do to to help them improve," he said.

The new town mayor Terry Wilson has pledged to continue what Greer has started.

Greer expects the town to have a clean audit for the upcoming year. He also predicts the town will be completely out of debt within the next 18 months.

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