Audit: St. Martinville May Have Violated State, Federal Rules
A new audit is calling into question some of St. Martinville City Hall’s operations.
That audit, released Monday morning, says the city administration may have violated state law by failing to remit traffic ticket funds to several organizations. The audit also found that the city violated rules regarding federal funds the city received.
According to the audit, the city did not turn over traffic ticket fine fees to the Acadiana Crime Lab, Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, the Indigent Defender Board, St. Martin Crime Stoppers, the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Louisiana Supreme Court. The city is required by state law to remit fees to those agencies. In her response to the audit, Mayor Melinda Mitchell says city leaders will figure out how much money they owe those organizations and send the money to them.
In addition, the audit noted that city leaders have not yet corrected a problems with traffic ticket collections. That finding, originally documented in 2019, says the city does not have procedures to properly account for traffic ticket fine collections. Mitchell, as she did last year, responded to the findings by saying city officials will revise their policies and procedures to include daily reconciliation and deposits of fine collections.
The audit also found that the city government violated rules for several federal programs.
According to the audit, the city doesn’t have written procedures for the use of federal coronavirus aid money it received. The audit also found issues with the city’s Section 8 program. The audit says the city failed to maintain proper documentation for its Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Auditors also found the city handed out Housing Assistance Program payments to a participant outside of the terms of the program’s contract. According to the audit, that happened after a city employee entered an incorrect HAP payment value--$597 instead of $540--into the Department of Housing and Urban Development's program. In her response to the audit, Mitchell says the city will implement policies and procedures to come within federal regulations and to enhance controls over HUD program data entry.
The audit also noted several other issues in city government that were previously identified but haven't been resolved.
According to the audit, the St. Martinville City Government still does not have a penalty or late fee structure in place for city water customers. The audit also noted "inadequate controls over customer utility deposits." The audit also says the city has failed to correct issues in regards to the inventory of city property, the maintenance of accurate capital assets records, timely bank reconciliations, and timesheet management. In her responses to each issue, Mitchell says the city is still working to revise policies to bring the city into compliance with general accounting practices.
The full audit is attached below.