JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released an audit of Ralls County, located in northeast Missouri, that finds improvements are needed to the property tax system and to other areas of county government. The report gave a rating of “fair.”
“Our audit found several areas where improvements would help ensure greater accountability for the taxpayers of Ralls County,” Auditor Galloway said. “I encourage county officials to implement the recommendations of this report for more efficient and effective government.”
The audit found the county has not adequately restricted access to the property tax system, with the County Collector and personnel in her office having access rights that allow them to make changes to individual tax records. An additional weakness in the controls is that there is no independent review of changes made to individual tax records in the system.
Another finding was the County Commission and the County Clerk do not adequately monitor property tax additions and abatements entered into the property tax system. The County Commission does not review the individual court orders approving additions and abatements, or review a detailed listing of changes made to the property tax system. The County Commission and the County Clerk also do not perform reconciliations of the approved changes to the actual changes made to the system. In addition, neither the County Commission nor the County Clerk adequately reviews the financial activities of the County Collector, and the County Clerk does not prepare or verify the accuracy of the current or delinquent tax books. The audit recommends those county officials take steps to address those findings.
The audit also found that controls and procedures in the Sheriff’s office need improvement, including better procedures for receipts and deposits, preparing a monthly list of liabilities to reconcile to the reconciled bank balance, entering into written agreements with surrounding counties for the boarding of prisoners, and ensuring that fees and other receipts are timely disbursed to the County Treasurer. The Prosecuting Attorney’s office does not issue prenumbered receipt slips for money received, the audit also found.
The county did not properly report property tax levy reductions to the State Auditor’s Office in 2017 and 2018 and did not reduce the tax levy for sales tax collections for 2019 and 2020 as required. The audit recommended the County Commission and County Clerk properly calculate and report property tax rate reductions and develop a plan to correct improper property tax reductions from prior years.
The audit also found that the county has not developed electronic records management and retention policies in compliance with state guidance on local records.
A copy of the complete audit report can be found here.