Last Modified: Saturday, September 14, 2013 8:19 PM
The Beauregard Parish Covered Arena had a $60,000 deficit for fiscal year 2012, and arena officials failed to pay payroll taxes, according to a report released earlier this week by the state Legislative Auditor’s Office.
John Windham, the DeRidder accountant who conducted the audit, said the arena, whose operations are overseen by the Beauregard Police Jury, received the best opinion an auditor can give — but made some financial missteps.
“We actually looked at 100 percent of the transactions of the covered arena because we can. It’s small,” Windham said. “In saying that, we’re giving them the best opinion they can get. But you can have the best opinion and still have comments or findings. And many of my audits have findings. It’s hard to be perfect.”
One such misstep was an inability to find a credit card statement for auditors — for $1,004 to Factory Outlet. Arena managers were unable to locate the statement and had to turn to Capitol One for a replacement. Capitol One was unable to get the statement back in time, and the arena missed its June 30 filing deadline, Windham said.
The arena has struggled to strike a balance between making money and paying for operations — as evidenced by its $59,764 unrestricted net deficit. According to the audit report, managers will adjust the fees they charge to renters and concessions to balance its books.
The report also noted that the arena failed to pay payroll taxes — some $16,610, including January 2013 — for six quarters for its two employees. The Beauregard Parish Police Jury has since paid the debt.
All of this, said Arena Chairman Danny Futch, is because of an inability to generate the necessary revenue for the $4.5 million arena and because electricity costs run $3,000-3,200 a month. He cited instances where event money and state money were held up but said the arena has always managed to pay back monies borrowed from the Police Jury.
“I really do appreciate the positive support from the parish and the Police Jury,” Futch said. “We’re just trying our best to diversify our events, and bring in the best events for the arena.”
The Police Jury recently approved the arena for a one-time permit to sell beer and wine at a concert in November. Community backlash prompted one police juror to apologize later for supporting the measure.
Futch said that if alcohol sales prove successful, the arena would seek another special events permit and would begin booking bigger events like motocross and boxing.