Incorporated or chartered municipalities (cities, towns and villages) in Louisiana are considered to be local auditees, and are required to provide an annual financial report to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA).
The majority of municipalities are chartered under Louisiana Revised Statute 33:321 – 463 (the Lawrason Act). Under the Lawrason Act, the municipality is governed by a mayor – board of aldermen form of government; with the legislative powers vested in the board of aldermen, and the mayor acting as the chief executive officer of the municipality. The officers of a Lawrason Act municipality are the mayor, aldermen, chief of police, tax collector, and municipal clerk. Depending upon the population of the municipality, a Lawrason Act municipality may have as many as nine or as few as three aldermen.
Municipalities not governed by Lawrason Act charter may be governed by home rule charter, or by legislative or special charter.
The population of a municipality determines if it is designated as a city, a town, or a village:
|Greater than or equal to 5,000
|More than 1,000 but less than 5,000
|Less than or equal to 1,000
City courts were created by R.S. 13:1871- 2512, and may have one or more elected judges, depending on the number of divisions in the court. In courts with multiple judges, the judge with the most seniority is the presiding judge of the court. Each court may have an elected marshal or constable; and the judge may appoint a clerk for the civil and criminal divisions of the court. Some city courts report to LLA separately from the municipality; others are included in the municipality’s audit report as a component unit. The funds that are accounted for by a city court are similar to the funds received by a district court (see District Courts, Criminal Court Funds, District Attorneys, District Public Defenders, and Judicial Expense Funds).
Municipalities often enter into cooperative endeavor agreements with quasi-public organizations to facilitate certain public services, subject to the oversight of the municipality. These quasi-public organizations may be determined to be component units of the municipality. In addition, the municipality may join with other governmental agencies to create joint ventures that provide services within several governmental jurisdictions.
The Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire requires municipalities to provide statements or representations to their auditor regarding their compliance with certain provisions laws and regulations. Auditors are required to test the municipality’s compliance with these laws and regulations.
The Louisiana Municipal Association’s website offers a wealth of useful information to municipalities and their auditors. The Legislative Auditor's website has frequently asked questions documents about the Lawrason Act and mayor's courts.