Funds to repair St. Joseph water system in jeopardy - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Funds to repair St. Joseph water system in jeopardy

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  ST. JOSEPH, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The town of Saint Joseph may not get the needed funds to improve its water system.

Last November, Governor Bobby Jindal made a trip to Tensas Parish.

That's where he announced the town would receive $6 million in capital outlay funds.

However, bad book-keeping may make the town ineligible for the money, since it missed the deadline to submit its official audit for 2013.

Mayor Ed Brown was very excited about the announcement since the town loses about $100,000 dollars a year to water leaks. But after the funding went into question, the mayor is not returning phone calls.

And a state auditor said the town failed submit the needed paper work.”

“One of the things that was a problem with that particular report was that the contracted accountant that was doing the book keeping had not finished the book keeping, and therefore could not get the records and transactions over to the auditor,” Joy Irwin said.

Irwin also said ultimately it is the job of the town to make sure all the paperwork is complete.

Meaghan Parrish, with the state's division of administration, says the town has filed for an extension of the audit.

"If the extension is approved, the town will be removed from the non-compliance list and will be eligible to receive its capital out lay funds," Parrish said.  

And state Senator Francis Thompson said the mayor has contacted him for help.

“We were looking at alternatives, if he could not get his audit in line by the end of the month,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he believes there was some confusion with who was going to do the audit and that is the reason it was not done in time.

But it is still unclear why the deadline was missed.

We reached out to the mayor several times and he would not return our phone calls. We also contacted some members of the town council, but they refused to comment on the situation. However, the legislative auditor said they have made some contact with the officials.

"We are currently working with the town to try to get the audit in and we are monitoring the town, hopefully we will be able to get an action plan," Irwin said.  

Parrish also said they have expedited St. Joseph's request for an extension. But she said it could be days or r weeks before the request is denied or approved.

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