City administrators say Grambling poised to bounce back from being named to list of “distressed municipalities”

Mayor Ed Jones and City Councilwoman Yanise Days respond to concerns surrounding audit

Administrators of the City of Grambling have responded to concerns surrounding an audit from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor which questions the town’s ability to survive without substantial efforts to fix the town’s financial crisis.  According to Grambling officials such efforts are underway and should result in a positive outcome in only months. 

In Jul. 2019, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office released the report of the town’s fiscal year that ended Dec. 31. The audit, performed by Brown, Ewing and Co. of Ridgeland, Miss., did not find any discrepancies in the city’s internal controls. The audit did find a $159,226 reduction in the city’s general fund.  The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office later released in November, a list of 18 “fiscally distressed” municipalities because of ongoing concerns about their operations The list included the City of Grambling. The auditor’s concern in Grambling regarded “ongoing operations.” 

A “growing concern” issue was first noted in the city’s 2013 audit. Grambling Mayor Ed Jones and Councilwoman Yanise Days responded to the audit which called into question the city’s viability.  “Regarding our annual audit, I am pleased that we have had no audit findings for the past three years,” said Days, who began her first term as a councilmember in 2011. 

The city has three fund accounts: Health and Sanitation, Maintenance and General Fund. 

At the close of the last audit, the Health and Sanitation Fund had a surplus of $547,744 and the Maintenance Fund had a surplus of $1,098,724. 

The city’s General Fund, which is utilized for the majority of the city’s expenses, such as city administration, the police and fire departments, as well as public works, showed a deficit of $301,242. The general fund was reduced from $460,468 to $301,242 over the course of a year. Jones said the city lacks economic development and many times the expenditures are greater than the revenue that is received. 

“The deficit was created before the present administration,” said Jones, who was sworn in for his second consecutive term in December 2014. Days said Mayor Jones and other members of the Grambling City Council have collectively worked to reduce the city’s General Fund deficit and have been successful in reducing it each year.  “I am proud to say that based on unofficial financial projections, we anticipate that we should be clear of the General Fund deficit upon completion of our audit for the year ending December 31, 2019.”

Bradley Cryer, assistant legislative auditor and director of local government audit services for the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office, told the Monroe News Star that the city of Grambling, among several across that his monitors, had been monitored for a while and pointed out current progress in reducing the deficit. The 2019 city of Grambling audit will be available in July and is expected to show a surplus in its General Fund.