Mandeville’s Internal Audit Committee discusses 2011 fiscal year

[MANDEVILLE] – Mandeville’s Internal Audit Committee held a public meeting Monday evening for a presentation by the accounting firm Postlehwaite and Netterville. This presentation consisted of a draft of the city’s annual financial audit for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2011, with sales tax revenues and receipts for the city being an overwhelming topic of choice.

Todd Tournillon, who represented Postlehwaite and Netterville for the presentation, described the responsibilities as ensuring a “reasonable, but not absolute, assurance that records are in accordance with US GAAP and government auditing standards.” He said he was “pleased to report a clean opinion” on the city’s financial report. This report will be sent to the state for the annual audit.

The city and its management team were responsible for preparing and gathering financial statements, as well as adjusting them for any known misstatements identified during the audit, and making financial records and information available. According to Tournillon, Frank Oliveri, Director of Finances, was “very helpful in this process.”

Jerry Coogan of District I asked Postlehwaite & Netterville earlier in the process to check and verify without a doubt that all of the sales tax revenue was and would continue to be in the position to be applied properly.

Postlehwaite and Netterville became aware of some issues arising with the city’s sales tax revenue, and according to Tournillon, expanded their procedures within that particular area to confirm receipts and uses of sales tax amounts. The transfers were deemed to be appropriate in accordance with sales tax laws.

Coogan asked, “Overall with a broad stroke, would you describe our financial situation in Mandeville as solid, on fair ground?” to which Tournillon replied that for a town of their size, their financial situation in Mandeville was “very strong.”

With elections looming in the fall, council members want to have the final report published and available as soon as possible. They will need public approval to redirect tax revenues and dictate how they will be used. According to Coogan, this report will be key for citizens in their decision-making process

Because Mandeville relies so heavily on their sales tax revenue (anywhere from 50-55 percent of their income), Edward Lyons, former president of Terrebonne Parish, warns that, “we have to be very, very careful before we start fooling with that sales tax revenue, and the reason being that sales tax revenue drops, and they can drop drastically, put you in a very bad bind.” He warned that being in very good financial shape does not mean we should not look into sales tax renewal. Carla Buckhholz of District II agreed, saying, “We must be very protective of that.”

This is the first year that the city has deferred to this accounting firm for a professional review and opinion of their records.

The draft is set to go before the City Council March 8 for approval. Once approved, the final report will be posted on their website for public review. The actual draft must be sent to state legislative auditors by Feb. 29. The city council’s job is “ to accept, not approve the draft,” according to Tournillon. “Postlehwaite and Netterville’s job is to submit an opinion, just an opinion, to report to the council.”

Postlehwaite and Netterville is an accounting firm that provides a variety of services to businesses, individuals and governments. Their job with the city of Mandeville is to review all finances up for the annual fiscal audit, in which the city has a six-month grace period to gather and review their numbers, and compose a draft for review.

Councilmembers present at the meeting included Carla Buchholz of District II, Edward “Bubby” Lyons, Jeff Bernard of District III, Jerry Coogan of District I, and Frank Oliveri, Mandeville’s Director of Finances.

The Internal Audit Committee, which is a subcommittee of Mandeville City Council, meets on the second and fourth Monday of every month.

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