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East Feliciana Parish not in compliance, state freezes funding

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CLINTON- Leaders in East Feliciana Parish held an emergency meeting today as money problems begin to set in. The state recently stopped sending public money to the parish since it's not in compliance with the State Legislative Auditor.

The lack of money is leaving the Parish Council on Aging in a bind.

Director Brenda Gardner said her office is currently operating on reserve funding. The Council on Aging in East Feliciana Parish is currently $34,000 in the hole.

"We're using money from the previous year's fund balance," Gardner said.

All of this stems from the parish not turning in an audit in time. That left East Feliciana Parish not in compliance with the State Legislative Auditor.

"It does affect all of our services because we use that to help pay for fuel, insurance, transport our clients to and from their destinations," Gardner said.

Louise Reynolds depends on the Council on Aging. She's been coming there for the past 20 years.

"I just like people, and we love our seniors in our parish," Reynolds said.

Sharing a meal and the camaraderie with her fellow retirees keeps her smiling.

"Instead of them being at home and being on the couch, this gets them here and gets some back and fourth," Reynolds said.

We went looking for answers about the late audit and details on the budget issues. When we encountered Parish Manager Barbara Vail, she met our cameras with resistance.

"I'm not answering any questions," Vail said. "Turn your cameras off. I'm not doing this."

As questions remain over the late paperwork, seniors like Reynolds are confident the situation will rectify itself.

"They care about our seniors too because they know we're the ones that get out and vote."

The Council on Aging serves 550 seniors. At least 53 are on a waiting list for meals.

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