The state’s coastal authority needs to better account for spending in projects with the federal government, must require levee districts to factor in maintenance with project proposals, and produce a report that outlines spending for work on the coast.
These were just a few of the handful of recommendations from a Louisiana Legislative Auditor report released Monday, most of which the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority agreed with.
“I don’t see anything that’s alarming to us at all,” said Janice Lansing, chief financial officer with CPRA. “It always gives us an outside view, and I like that.”
Other recommendations included the need for the CPRA to find additional money for the comprehensive master plan, better evaluate whether projects are meeting the objectives of the master plan, and include inflation within cost estimates of the plan, which is currently set at about $50 billion.
There were some areas of disagreement.
The state disagrees with the inclusion of inflation in cost estimates because there are changes in individual projects that can increase costs and future technological advancements also can impact project costs.
“The cost we project today may very well be less (in the future),” Lansing said.
The state did agree to include its reasoning for not including inflation in project costs in the next master plan.
On the issue of cost sharing projects with the federal government, the audit says there has been little documentation of what the federal share has been.
CPRA responded that they have had trouble over the years getting details of what the federal partners have spent, but the coastal authority will continue to try.
“We don’t get a look see into their books. They (auditors) still feel we can be more aggressive, and we’ll do that,” Lansing said.
Other recommendations include a need for a yearly spending report that includes whether the state’s master plan goals are being met. CPRA agreed and said a new financial system put in place in 2014 will allow the state to report this type of information online or in a report.
Follow Amy Wold on Twitter, @awold10.