JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of Maries County, located in central Missouri. The report, which gave the county an overall performance rating of “good,” recommends several changes to policies and procedures to improve accountability and transparency for taxpayers. The most recent previous audit of Maries County was completed in 2017, with the county receiving an overall rating of “fair.”
As has been identified in previous audits of the county, neither the County Clerk nor the County Commission adequately reviews the financial activities of the County Collector. Auditors recommended that the clerk maintain an account book or other records summarizing property tax charges and other transactions. The clerk and commission need to implement procedures to review the accuracy and completeness of the collector’s annual settlements.
Additionally, auditors recommended the Sheriff’s Office improve accounting procedures, including preparing complete monthly bank reconciliations and issuing prenumbered receipts for payments received. The Sheriff also needs to establish written agreements with surrounding counties and cities for the boarding of prisoners. Typically such agreements detail the housing rate, services to be provided, and notification procedures for emergency situations. State law requires contracts for political subdivisions to be in writing. The county collected approximately $25,000 for the boarding of prisoners in 2020.
To improve compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law, the audit recommends that the county develop written policies regarding public access to county records, and ensure the specific section of law allowing a meeting to be closed is announced publicly and recorded in the meeting minutes, and closed meeting discussion are limited to the specific reasons cited. The audit also recommends the County Commission develop written policies for electronic communications management and retention.
A complete copy of the audit report can be found here.