Oberlin mayor-elect prepares to tackle town’s financial struggles

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 7:27 PM CST
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Oberlin, LA (KPLC) - Financial trouble in Oberlin - an audit of the town released this week includes sixteen pages of deficiencies, ranging from delinquent bills to inaccurate records of deposits made by water customers.

The latest audit of Oberlin’s finances shows the issues incoming mayor Larry Alexander will inherit when he takes office on Jan. 1. Yet he says he’s anxious to get started.

“I’ve been attending council meetings for the better part of a year now, to help prepare myself for what’s going on. We know we have some financial issues in the town that we have to address,” he said.

Some items identified in the audit relate back to 2019. The current administration says progress to correct deficiencies has been made and they hope it will continue with a new mayor in office.

Among the problems discovered, the report says the town has not followed cut off procedures with customers who don’t pay. On the flip side, the town sometimes pays its bills late resulting in late fees or penalties.

Alexander says he hopes to improve the situation involving the new water meters.

“We know that the system was broken for the month of November. So, the readings had to be done manually. So, there was some carry over between from month to month. I think that produced some very high water bills for some folks,” said Alexander.

The town also has failed to comply with the State Budget Act in a few ways including public notices and failure to make sure revenues are greater than expenditures.

Officials at the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office say they have seen some improvements in Oberlin. A spokesperson says once the new mayor is in place, they may use the audit findings to help Oberlin move forward.

You can find the full report below, or by clicking HERE.