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|Audit reveals port in sound shape|
Greater Ouachita Port Commission ended the 2008 fiscal year with more than $11 million in total net assets, according to an audit of port finances.
The audit of the 2008 fiscal year was conducted by Johnston, Perry, Johnson & Associates, a CPA firm in Monroe.
For the second consecutive year, the port's revenues exceeded expenses. During the 2008 fiscal year, total revenues were $983,437 while total expenses were $547,700.
The Monroe firm's audit said there were no findings, meaning the port received an unqualified opinion for its 2008 fiscal year.
An auditor's unqualified opinion by definition means the auditor believes a "company followed all accounting rules appropriately and financial reports are an accurate representation of the companies financial condition."
"The Greater Ouachita Port Commission has been fortunate to receive funding necessary to construct, implement and begin operating the initial phase of the port project," according to the audit.
The port recently received $1 million to construct a rail spur encompassing 1,000 linear feet to serve the outbound needs of West Monroe's Graphic Packaging.
"By implementing this project, the commission has been able to assist the state in retaining over 500 jobs with Graphic Packaging," the audit stated.
For the 2008 fiscal year, the commission received $760,273 from the state and $196,219 in federal grants for port terminal development projects.
One of the major ongoing projects at the port is a $2-million access road to connect the port's existing rail-side storage to its dock-side storage area.
When the access road is completed, the port complex would be enclosed, which would provide better safety measure and allow the port commission to pursue homeland security funding and grants from other federal agencies, which require structures to be secure.