Wednesday, August 24, 2016
State Auditor: The citizens of South Greenfield deserve better
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway was in South Greenfield today to present the results of an audit of the village. The audit was initiated by village residents who petitioned the Auditor's Office for review. Auditor Galloway described accounting records that failed to accurately reflect village finances and a lack of formal guidelines for handling village utilities. Residents made utility payments at an unsecured drop box or left payments at the homes of village employees and trustees, increasing the risk of theft or misuse of funds. The audit also found South Greenfield lacked procedures to ensure trustee candidates were qualified to run for office. One current trustee appeared on an April ballot, although county tax rolls and voter registration records indicate he was not a resident or registered voter of the village.
"Citizens deserve to know there are checks and balances in place to protect taxpayer funds, and they should be confident that leaders are making thoughtful, strategic decisions on their behalf," Auditor Galloway said. "We found a number of instances in which officials made decisions that directly impacted citizens but weren't able to explain how or why they made those changes. The residents of South Greenfield deserve better, so our team made recommendations to increase accountability and oversight."
In addition to concerns about the handling of utility payments, auditors found that village trustees increased water and sewer rates without following required procedures. They were also unable to provide documentation to support the reason for increasing rates.
Auditors recommended increased oversight of village spending by the trustees, who did not always document their approval of village payments or transfers among village funds. Additionally, village ordinances were not updated or complete, and the village did not always comply with Missouri's Sunshine Law.
South Greenfield is located in Dade County in southwest Missouri and has approximately 100 residents. The audit received an overall performance rating of "fair," and can be found online at auditor.mo.gov.