County of Maries gets improved rating in last audit

In her latest Maries County audit, state auditor Nicole Galloway gave the county an overall performance rating of “good” and recommended several changes to improve accountability and transparency for taxpayers.

In the 2017 Galloway audit of Maries County, the county received an overall rating of “fair”.

A good rating, according to the auditors, means that the results of the audit indicate that the entity is well managed and that the entity has indicated that most or all of the recommendations have already been or will be implemented and that many previous recommendations have been implemented.

State law requires the state auditor to audit counties that do not have a county auditor.

Galloway’s office noted that neither the county clerk nor the county commission was adequately reviewing the financial activities of the county collector. The auditors recommended that the registrar keep an account book or other records summarizing property tax charges and other transactions. The clerk and the commission must implement procedures to verify the accuracy and completeness of the collector’s annual regulations.

In response, the Maries County Commissioners said, “We are in the process of implementing this recommendation. The county clerk created a spreadsheet to keep an account book with the county collector. The county commission will review the spreadsheet and compare it with the county tax collector’s annual settlement.

In addition, the auditors recommended that the sheriff’s office improve accounting procedures, including preparing full monthly bank reconciliations and issuing pre-numbered receipts for payments received. The sheriff must also establish written agreements with the surrounding counties and towns for the embarkation of prisoners.

In general, these agreements detail the price of accommodation, the services to be provided and the notification procedures for emergency situations. State law requires that political subdivision contracts be in writing. The county raised around $ 25,000 for prison boarding in 2020.

Sheriff Chris Heitman said new procedures have already been put in place to accommodate the suggestions.

To improve compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law, the audit recommends that the county develop written policies regarding public access to county records, ensure that the specific section of the law authorizing the closure of a Meeting is announced publicly and recorded in the meeting minutes, and discussion of the closed meeting is limited to the specific reasons given.

For this recommendation, the commissioners said, “We will develop a written policy regarding public access to county records. The county commission ensured that the specific section of the law authorizing the closing of the meeting was publicly announced and began recording this information in the meeting minutes when the county commission holds a vote for close a meeting, and discussions are now limited to specific reasons. cited to close the meeting.

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