Chief Financial Officer

Ross Gonzales

(985) 652-9569

1801 W. Airline Hwy., LaPlace LA 70068

Staff Title Ext. Email
Julie Songy Finance Manager 1113

The Department of Finance is responsible for administering the financial affairs of the parish. It is managed by the Parish Financial Advisor and support staff.

Overview of Services and Core Functions

The Department of Finance works closely with the Parish President and is led by the Chief Financial Officer.  This Department consists of 5 full-time employees and is responsible for administering the financial affairs of the Parish. 

Additionally, the Department of Finance has the following responsibilities:

  • Preparing the annual Parish Budget.
  • Maintaining records of the Parish’s fixed assets.
  • Maintaining records of the Parish’s indebtedness.
  • Creating, maintaining and upholding financial policies.
  • Preparing various monthly and annual financial reports for the Parish President and the

              Parish Council.

  • Assisting the auditors with gathering needed information.
  • Balancing all cash accounts on a monthly basis.
  • Balancing all balance sheet and interfund transfers on a monthly basis.

Financial Reporting

St. John the Baptist Parish maintains accounting and reporting systems in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as applied to governmental units.  Annually, the Parish contracts with an independent accounting firm which issues an audit opinion on its official Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).  The Parish submits the CAFR to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB).  Copies of the Comprehensive Audit Reports are included in the menu to the right.

The accounting system for the Parish is organized by Fund.  Each fund is considered a separate governmental activity.  Each Fund is comprised of its own general ledger accounts to record and track revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities and fund balance.  Governmental resources are allocated and accounted for in these individual funds based upon the purpose for which the monies are to be spent. 

Separate funds are used to satisfy legal requirements and to aid in financial administration.  Currently, the Parish utilizes fifty (50) funds, which are grouped into the five (5) fund types based upon the type of activity the fund is used for.  All funds are included in the annual budget and in the financial statements.

Budgetary Reporting

Formal budgetary accounting is employed as a management control device and budgets are legally adopted for all funds.  The Parish budget is prepared in accordance with Louisiana law.  During the course of the year, the Parish revises its budget to take into consideration significant changes in revenues or expenditures.  Louisiana Revised Statute 39:1311 requires a budget amendment if either expected revenues are less or anticipated expenditures in excess of budgetary goals by 5% or more.

While the Parish Financial Advisor provides the historical data for all individual funds, the department directors are responsible for projecting annual expenditures and needed improvements.  The fund budgets are prepared utilizing financial trend analysis as further explained below.  Once the budgets have been completed, they are submitted to the Parish President who reviews each fund with its department director.  Finally, the budgets are presented to the Parish Council, with a budget message and an entire budget presentation, for final approval.

Copies of the current year’s budget presentation is included in the menu to the right.

Departmental Awards and Achievements

  • Unqualified Audit

For the past 10 years, independent external auditors have expressed an unqualified opinion of the financial statements of St. John the Baptist Parish.

  • Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting

For the past 12 years, this award has been presented to the Parish by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of Louisiana based on its review of a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. This places St. John the Baptist Parish in the top 13% of parishes in Louisiana; 1% of all governments in the state; and 4% of all governments in the United States and Canada.

  • Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

For the past 2 years, this award has been presented to the parish by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets the program criteria as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan and as a communicative device.This award is valid for a period of one year only.We believe our current budget continues to conform to program requirements, and we are submitting it to GFOA to determine its eligibility for another award.