DENHAM SPRINGS — This city, which sustained a wallop in the flood of 2016, is bouncing back on the fiscal front, an auditor told city officials Wednesday.
Trey Sanders, representing the accounting firm Hannis T. Bourgeois, CPA, told Mayor Gerard Landry and city council members that the auditors found no major errors in the operation of city government for the fiscal year ending June 30.
“Last year some odd things happened to Denham Springs," Sanders said. "First, you had to endure the flood of August 2016 and the aftermath of that disaster. You lost some revenue because you lost customers who were paying for utility services. You lost sales tax revenue for a time when businesses closed, and you lost considerable facilities, including your City Hall, which remains vacant. At the same time you had expensive repair costs in restoring city property.”
He did note the city received an influx of funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for damage repair and from the settlement of insurance claims. He also said sales tax revenues had rebounded during recovery from the flood and that the tax income remains healthy.
Because of the FEMA and other outside dollars, Denham Springs realized a significant increase in total revenues. Total revenue for the fiscal year were $32.02 million compared to $23.38 million for the prior fiscal year, ending in June of 2016.
Total expenses were also up considerably in 2016-17 over the previous fiscal year: $30.54 million compared to $22.6 million in 2015-16, the report says.
As of June 30, the city’s combined ending fund balance was $5.74 million, an increase of $2.05 million over the prior fiscal year. “Approximately $4.4 million is available for spending at the government’s discretion,” the report states.
At some point, Sanders said, when all insurance claims and requests for additional FEMA funds are exhausted, the city may finally be able to determine the total cost of the flood to the city government.
“We have faced some tough times together but we have met the challenges as they have arisen," Mayor Landry told the council. "As we face a new year, there will be many more challenges in the future but I know we will meet them. We are on the rebound and we will continue to make our city an even better place than it was before the flood.”