Burges says Baker audit positions city for financial ‘cleanup’
By Leslie D. Rose
The Drum Assistant Managing Editor
Baker City Councilwoman Joyce Burges, District 3, said she doesn’t want citizens of Baker to be overly concerned with what may seem to be broken financially within the city.
Her comments came after the city’s 2012-2013 annual audit’s findings caused the Louisiana Legislative Auditor to issue a “disclaimer of an opinion”.
A disclaimer of opinion means the financial status could not be determined because of an absence of appropriate financial records, according to KJ Henderson of Demand Media.
Because Baker is required by the home rule charter to appoint an auditor each fiscal year, the Baker City Council voted last year to hire a new auditor and remove Mary Sue Stages who served as auditor for nearly 50 years.
Members of the council said then that fresh eyes needed to be on the city’s finances. Posterwaite and Netterville Firm was chosen to audit the city’s finances for the 2012-2013 fiscal year end which lead to the disclaimer.
Burges said the findings provide an opportunity for the city to rebuild and improve on its financial picture. “We are positioning ourselves, as a city, to clean up the financial damages…this is an opportunity to rebuild and improve our financial statement and financial records,” she said.
She continued to say that the process of rebuilding the city to good financial standings will take some time because the financial deficiencies are grave.
Legislative auditor Joy Irwin said she will be available for comment once her report is published within the next three weeks. A brief summary of the audit will be available at the Baker City Council meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 6pm.