Shreveport Gets a “D” on Audit Report
Bad news for Shreveport today. The city gets a “D” on the legislative audit’s latest report. But the city is showing improvement. The data shows the city is doing a better job financially than a year ago. One of the problems mentioned in the report is the theft of about 9 thousand dollars from the Convention Center Hotel. That incident was reported to police and the employee fired. The city has agreed to put more financial controls in place to keep this from happening again.
The city sent KEEL News this response:
The recent Legislative Auditor letter grade assigned to the City of Shreveport for its 2016 financial audit is based on the facts listed in the report detailing a theft of funds that were properly reported to local law enforcement as well as the legislative auditor as required by law. As mentioned in the footnote of the grade report, Grade “D” is assigned for any noted fraud and abuse – even a single instance, such as this case. The Legislative Auditor has stated that it is a mistake for the letter grades to be associated with school grades and are not intended to judge the financial performance of a municipality. For the sake of transparency, letter grades are intended to simply notate the nature of specific findings of the external audit.
No matter how good your audit, if you have a single case of fraud, big or small, you receive the “D” notation. This despite the fact that this case was not even a city employee but a subcontractor through the hotel management company. The City acted swiftly if notifying law enforcement and the individual was arrested. Additionally, as required by the Legislative Auditor, we notified them in writing about the occurrence.
Here’s more information about the theft case:
On February 16, 2017, the City became aware of a misappropriation of Convention Center Hotel (Shreveport Hilton Hotel) funds in the amount of approximately $9,773. The suspect in the misappropriation was an Accounts Payable employee, Krystin Benson, working for the Hotel who had been committing a systematic theft that was believed to have started around October 2016. Police were contacted and Benson was placed on suspension on February 9, 2017 and fired on February 17, 2017. She is charged with felony theft. She is awaiting trial and has not made restitution.
There is some interesting information in the report about sales tax revenues and gambling revenues.
Sales tax revenues:
Casino revenues continue to go down as more competition joins the fray.
The five-year history of gaming revenues is as follows:
Sales taxes make up the largest part of the city’s budget and those numbers raise a red flag if you consider the change from 2015 to 2016. The city’s take is down by 2 and a half million dollars.
Property tax revenues are also down by $1.2 million from 2015.
The city did increase charges for services $1.8 million from 2015.