Oberlin town council reviews audit, selects interim mayor - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Oberlin town council reviews audit, selects interim mayor

The Oberlin Town Council met Monday night to appoint a new mayor and discuss the findings of an independent audit. (Theresa Schmidt / KPLC) The Oberlin Town Council met Monday night to appoint a new mayor and discuss the findings of an independent audit. (Theresa Schmidt / KPLC)

Oberlin has a new mayor to serve in the interim after Rick Smith resigned last week.

An audit released Monday night shed a bit more light on issues that may have caused Smith to come under fire from citizens and council members. The audit also revealed more about the financial problems plaguing the town.

The audit report was given before the Oberlin Council appointed a new mayor -- perhaps to avoid confusion since some findings dealt with the former mayor. 

CPA Royce Scimemi found that town resources should not have been used in a subdivision developed by Smith.

"All of the materials totaling $693, labor and equipment used for completion of this installation were borne and paid for by the town, possibly at the mayor's instruction. Installation of the sewer and water mains should not have been borne by the town, in our opinion. It should have been borne by the former mayor," Scimemi said.

A new finding not in the preliminary report deals with a building inspection fee never collected -- a fee of $1,900 on a 4,000-square-foot home.

"The required fee of at least $1,900 on the residence was not collected from the owner," Scimemi said.

There was standing room only as Scimemi explained other issues that have caused the town's revenue to decrease. Those reasons included not collecting taxes and past due utilities bills.

Council members are talking about possible hikes in utility rates to make ends meet.

Following the audit report -- councilman Mark Manuel was appointment mayor.

Council member and former mayor Phil Beard declined the nomination due to health reasons. Smith did not attend the meeting.

The Allen Parish District Attorney and legislative auditor will be provided a copy of the final audit.  The DA already turned over some preliminary findings from the audit to the state police for investigation.

Since allegations surfaced, Smith has denied any wrongdoing.

Copyright 2014 KPLC All rights reserved

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