STERLINGTON, LA (10/24/19)– Sterlington has a population of 1,700 people with a 21 million dollar deficit, making the state open an investigation of their finances.
After waiting over a year, town officials are expecting the investigative audit of their town’s finances, to determine if it’s been unethically used.
“We are hoping to get some answers out of it, especially what was done and probably the biggest thing I would love to see come out of it is how are we gonna correct the items going forward,” said Caesar Velasquez, Mayor of Sterlington.
Mayor Velaquez says there’s not an internal problem, every member has been faithful to their duties. This investigation is happening as members in the past didn’t communicate properly.
“A lot of these decisions were made either single handily or through the council, but not with full understanding of how to do it,” said Velasquez.
The misuse or the unethical use of money has not been proven, but the investigation audit report could bring clarification to locals
“For the citizens stand point, what they really want to see, they want to find out exactly what are the funds that were misappropriated and how did that happen,” said Velaquez.
One thing that is being investigated is an agreement the city made with capstone. A 2 million dollar loan was put into an account to which only capstone had access. Velaquez says the auditor believes some funds aren’t accounted for as 350 water meters were installed but are not functioning.
Capstone has not provided how that 2 million dollars was spent.
“We’ve been asking repeatedly for that documentation to give us a run down of every dollar that was used and for what what it was used for,” said Velaquez.
Though the towns debt is big, city officials have worked hard to knock it down dollar by dollar. Hosting a benefit concert, renting out concession stands and booking the ball park every weekend…hoping to bring town’s finances from the red back into the black.
Mayor velasquez says they don’t know when they will receive the report, but are expecting to see it soon. In addition, he plans to give 100 percent cooperation in going forward.