BAKER — Baker’s 2016-17 audit will be submitted to the state on time, Joseph Akanaji of accounting firm Bruno & Tervalon told the City Council on Tuesday.
The city hired Bruno & Tervalon in July to replace City Auditor Melvin Davis, who had conducted Baker’s audit for the previous two years.
The city’s 2015-16 audit was turned in late, which Davis blamed on incorrect accounting practices within the city. The state legislative auditor at that time placed the city on its noncompliance list for the tardiness of the audit as well as the findings Davis reported.
The state has since removed Baker from the list.
Besides changing auditors, the city also hired accounting firm Faulk and Winkler to assist with improving its bookkeeping practices.
Akanaji assured the council Tuesday night that the firm is on track to complete the audit by the Dec. 31 deadline.
The process is about halfway complete, and the firm will be in the drafting stage by Nov. 28, he said.
Bruno & Tervalon will meet with the City Council on Dec. 19 to present its final findings before submitting the report to the state.
In other business, the council voted 4-1 in favor of amending the city’s drainage ordinance to institute fines for anyone obstructing drainage in the city.
Council members Pete Heine, Glenda Bryant, Charles Vincent and Doris Alexander voted for the ordinance. Brenda Jackson voted against, saying afterward her vote is self-explanatory.
Anyone obstructing the passage of water in the streets, gutters, drains or ditches with leaves, tree branches or other debris will be warned for the first offense, pay a $50 fine for the second and $100 for the third offense.
Previously, the law had not contained any penalties.
The council also discussed the prevalence of street lights not working on La. 19.
“I don’t have a problem with Entergy, but I counted nine lights out,” Heine said. “They do a great job, but they are not doing a great job with the lights.”
Some of the lights are maintained by Entergy and some by Demco, and according to the contract with the city, the companies are supposed to maintain the street lights.
The city pays even if the lights don’t work, up to $150,000 per year to the two companies combined, Heine said.
“I have talked to Entergy and Demco, and we went over the franchise agreement. They are slow,” Mayor Darnell Waites said.
“This gets my blood pressure up more than anything else. If I didn’t love Entergy so much, I’d say boycott them and don’t pay the bill,” Vincent said.
Residents can call the Mayor’s Office if they notice street lights out.
The council also voted unanimously to change the Dec. 26 council meeting to Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.
Waites announced that the Baker Christmas Parade and Christmas in the Park will be held Dec. 2 and will include lunch with Santa Claus at 11 a.m. and a parade at 4 p.m. followed by a tree lighting and a movie in Baker City Park on Groom Road.
Alexander added that anyone wishing to donate a bicycle for the Mingle and Jingle on Dec. 21 can contact the Police Department.