Press Releases

SWBNO Submits its 2017 Annual Financial Report

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 5 2018

NEW ORLEANS – Today, the Sewerage and Water Board (SWBNO) submitted its 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, fulfilling its duties as a governmental agency to accurately report its financial standings during the last fiscal year.

“Producing this report is a hard-earned achievement by our financial team during the series of challenges we faced in 2018,” SWBNO Executive Director Ghassan Korban said. “Our hope is that the thoroughness and accuracy of this report will be a template by which we can hold ourselves accountable to the public and our customers going forward.”

“I am glad to announce that the Sewerage and Water Board has completed work on their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the first to be submitted since the August 5th flood event,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We are committed to transparency and to a full and thorough accounting, and this CAFR is a step in the right direction. I would also like to thank the state auditors for their willingness to work with us through this arduous process.”

State auditors granted SWBNO three extensions this year to its June 30 deadline to produce the CAFR. They were also understanding as SWBNO and its independent auditors, Postlethwaite & Netterville, finalized the report’s presentation during the first week of December.

“We are grateful to the state auditors for their patience as we put together this key indicator of our previous finances,” SWBNO Chief Financial Officer Yvette Downs said. “Their willingness to work with us through an unprecedented transition in leadership and our renewed desire to be an accountable and transparent utility helped us across the finish line.”

It is important to note that this CAFR is a snapshot of where SWBNO stood on Dec. 31, 2017. Since then, this utility has completed many of the projects listed as ongoing in this report because they were accelerated in the wake of the Aug. 5, 2017 flood event. These include repairs to our self-generating power turbines and 18 drainage pumps that were out of service that day.

The utility’s billing system, implemented in October 2016, also has undergone major improvements since December 2017. Our team has all but cleared the backlog of disputed accounts that stood at 7,800 in May 2018; implemented a software patch to aid new residents in receiving their first bills; and ended the moratorium on the regular collections process that was in place since November 2017.

“While the 2017 CAFR is a look back at where SWBNO was, we see a hopeful future in 2019 as we build on the improvements of 2018,” Mr. Korban said. “SWBNO will continue to adapt and modernize as its employees and new leadership work to bring this 120-year-old institution to the hard edge of innovation in the water management industry.”

For the full report of the 2017 CAFR, click here.

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