Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich on Friday criticized Texas County’s accounting procedures as “poor,” the lowest of four ratings given by his office.
Schweich said the audit — which included a review of books for the two years ending Dec. 31, 2012 — was performed by his office and a CPA firm.
Schweich said the audit results indicate Texas County needs to significantly improve operations.
“The report contains numerous findings that require management’s immediate attention, and/or the entity has indicated most recommendations will not be implemented,” he said. “In addition, if applicable, most prior recommendations have not been implemented.”
Many of the recommendations relate to internal controls, reconciliation of statements and issuance of receipts for accounts handled by county offices. In other cases, the auditor and some officeholders disagreed whether there was non-compliance with some legal provisions. Elected officeholders had the opportunity to respond to the findings and told auditors in many cases they had already or planned to implement the state’s recommendations.
Auditors sought improvements in administration of a tax maintenance fund by the collector, and controls and procedures for the collector-treasurer, public administrator, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, as well as some receipts issued by the assessor’s office and minutes of the county commission. It also questioned fees collected by Texas County for administration of the Wri-Tex 911 system and said the county collector-treasurer and her deputies improperly waived and adjusted as much as $7,830 in penalties and interest on delinquent taxes for some taxpayers and needs to improve procedures and records related to the collection of partial payments.
In a press release issued with the audit report’s release, Schweich also questioned some expenditures made in the collector-treasurer’s office, which officeholder Tammy Cantrell said were necessary for the administration of her office. The purchases, which the audit shows totaled about $10,000, included security equipment and installation; a 47-inch flat screen television used in an administrative center meeting room; cooking supplies and food used in the building’s kitchen and some catering services for “customer appreciation” events; a gaming system and video games used for exercising; a tablet computer; a laptop; office decorations; and cable television.
Said Cantrell, “When it came time for the furnishing of the old courthouse (after the justice center construction), if we needed anything for our offices, our segregated accounts were to be used to purchase what we need.”
“There is a difference of opinions between the state auditor’s office, Texas County Commission and myself what a reasonable purchase is,” said Cantrell on Monday. “Any county resident that would like to discuss the audit findings can come by my office anytime, and I will be more than happy to sit down and discuss the findings.”