Sheriff’s Office earns positive financials

Published 9:15 pm Sunday, August 23, 2015

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal recently received a positive financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

The financial statements indicate that the Sheriff’s Office had excess revenues over expenses of $618,925.67 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015. The financials will now be audited for submission to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office. The independent audit is scheduled to begin the day after Labor Day.

“While I would like to be spending these excess funds on operational issues, my first obligation to the citizens of this parish is to put the office back on a strong financial footing by paying off the debt I inherited from the previous administration,” Seal said. “For that reason, the entirety of the surplus has been utilized to help pay down that debt. We will continue to be frugal with our expenditures so that we can eventually eliminate the entire debt and then be free to do more for the good citizens of Washington Parish.”

The financial report indicated a significant turnaround in Sheriff’s Office finances since July 1, 2012, when Seal took office. At that time, he inherited a deficit budget that included a $1 million FEMA debt, an IRS penalty of more than $400,000, and potential repayment of grant funds due to previous grant mismanagement. Seal had to borrow $1.5 million the first day in office in order to meet payroll, pay outstanding obligations, and operate the office until he could get systems in place and balance his budget.

Seal also had to deal with the reality that the previous administration had sold most of the vehicle fleet, boats and the command center. Starting with practically no resources, he called on his law enforcement friends throughout the state who donated vehicles to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office. As a result, he has had to purchase no new vehicles during the first three years of his term.

“I am so pleased to receive this positive financial report,” Seal said. “I inherited a Sheriff’s Office that was financially destitute, but we rolled up our sleeves, went to work, made budget adjustments where necessary and turned the finances around. Our staff has done an outstanding job and I cannot thank them enough.”