ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish School Board received some excellent financial news at its meeting Tuesday: a report that sales tax collections are well ahead of projections and a clean bill of health from its auditor.
Supervisor of Finance and Management Helen “Ruthie” Davis told the board that sales tax collections through December are $280,000 ahead of receipts.
“If this keeps on this trend, we’ll finish well ahead,” she said.
Davis said $4.6 million is budgeted for this year in sales tax receipts, and the system is 25 percent ahead of projected revenues.
Rodney Combs, associate audit director with Postlethwaite & Netterville, the accounting firm that audits the school district’s books annually, gave the board a glowing report while summarizing his 99-page audit for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
He said his firm issued an unmodified opinion, the highest rating public entities can receive through an audit. He read a litany of specific audit items and followed each with “no deficiencies” in the accounting practices. It’s the 29th straight year the school district has receive an unmodified opinion.
The board also received an update on the status of the Pecan Grove property, site of the old high school. Department of Public Works Director Jim Ferguson and Philip Bellan, with Terracon, said the abatement of asbestos and lead paint from the location was 80 percent complete.
Ferguson said the next step is to get bids from contractors for demolition and removal of material from the site. After that, the School Board will receive an environmental certificate, clearing the property for sale to a real estate developer.
The Clothes Closet and the Food Pantry will also have to be relocated to the old grocery store building on La. 10, but that building still needs to be renovated.
“Everything’s falling into place and it looks like it’s going to come in under the budgeted amount of $150,000,” Ferguson said. “It’s reasonable to think everything will be completed by the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2017.”