Leesville receives best audit in more than a decade

The City of Leesville is experiencing its best financial year in more than a decade, according to the city’s audit report discussed during the City Council’s meeting Monday.

Based upon the 2021 fiscal year report, the city saw an increase in revenue by more than $3 million and a growing operational surplus of funds that could keep the city operating for 267 days without incoming funds, according to Burton Kolder of Kolder, Slaven, and Company, the firm that prepared the report.

Kolder’s firm has performed the city audit for the past 11 years, and he told council members that he had never seen a better performance from the city in all of that time.

“In speaking of financial numbers, these numbers are phenomenal. Keep doing what you’re doing, because it is working,” Kolder stated.

Across the board, Kolder’s audit showed that revenues were up and expenditures were down in nearly every department within the city, including public safety and public works.

Few departments, including the fire department, debt services and the economic development for the city’s airport, came in over budget, however those figures together amounted to less than one percent outside of the city’s budget.

“You just don’t see that often,” Kolder stated, and congratulated the city’s administration for their efforts.

One of the greatest boosts to this year’s revenue was a 17 percent increase in the city’s sales tax revenue, amounting to $833,000 and bringing the city’s sales tax revenue total over $6 million for the 2021 fiscal year.

Kolder said that percentage was the highest his firm has seen outside of Lafayette Parish, and credited the increase to a combination of factors that included an increase in consumers shopping online, allowing the city to collect sales tax from those sites that include Amazon. He also pointed to the city’s recent annexation of Fort Polk’s Entrance Road, which brought more businesses into the city’s limits.

“All these things compounding created a good effect for this city,” Kolder stated.

State Representative and Leesville resident Chuck Owen was present for the council meeting and commended the city’s administration and department heads for their combined efforts in creating the positive financial figures.

“In government, you tend to only get recognized when something goes wrong; people just expect things to work. So I sincerely, from the bottom of my heart thank you for managing the resources of this town,” Owen stated.

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