City of Waverly under scrutiny, Missouri auditor highlights financial irregularities

Date:

Jefferson City, MO – This week, a report from Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick pointed out several issues with the City of Waverly, Lafayette County. Over nine years, Waverly gave out $15,650 in year-end bonuses to employees, which broke the rules of the Missouri Constitution. The audit was launched after local residents collected 145 signatures and asked for it. The report criticized the city for not preparing full budgets as required by state laws and for failing to keep track of spending to prevent going over budget. Overall, Waverly’s management practices were rated as “fair.”

Read also: Missouri Department of Conservation proposes adjustments to permit costs amid rising conservation expenses

“I hope our report gives the residents of Waverly, who took the time to obtain the signatures necessary to trigger the audit, a more detailed understanding of the areas where their city needs to become more efficient and transparent,” said Auditor Fitzpatrick. “Our recommendations give city officials a path forward to increase their level of accountability and provide residents with the kind of city government that minimizes waste and uses each tax dollar as effectively as possible.”

The audit found that the city’s Board of Aldermen had wrongly approved bonuses for all full-time employees. For instance, in November 2021, Waverly paid $3,050 in bonuses to six employees, with individual bonuses ranging from $250 to $750. From December 2013 to November 2021, the total paid out in bonuses was $15,650. Additionally, the Board granted salary increases to employees on January 1, 2022, without the proper authority or documentation to back up the decision.

The audit report also highlighted shortcomings in the city’s budgeting process for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2022, and 2023. It pointed out that these budgets lacked several elements required by law, such as a budget message, summary, and financial data for the previous two years. The report noted that the Board did not properly track the actual money received and spent compared to the budget. As a result, the actual spending for the General Fund exceeded the planned budget by $61,770 and for the Street Fund by $11,046 in the year ending June 30, 2022. Furthermore, the audit identified that the Board failed to properly separate different accounting responsibilities and did not ensure that financial transactions were reviewed independently.

A report from Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick pointed out issues with the City of Waverly, highlighted financial irregularities

Read also: Missouri’s Summer Food Service Program ensures no child goes hungry during school breaks

Issues with the city’s utility system were also addressed in the report. It was found that adjustments made to customer utility accounts were not independently reviewed or approved, and documentation explaining the adjustments was often missing. Moreover, the city did not consistently apply late fees or disconnect services following its own rules.

The audit also discovered that city employees were not being charged for the first 1,000 gallons of water or sewer use, costing $49.54 monthly per employee. Additionally, some employees were not billed for trash, primacy, and franchise fees, costing $9.92 monthly per employee, which increased to $16.09 in June 2022. The total undercharge for these services for the year ending June 30, 2022, amounted to $3,059.

Read also: Historic Jazz Hill complex in receives $38 million revitalization investment, to become affordable housing

The audit also revealed several other issues with how the city is managed. The Board frequently did not follow the Sunshine Law during closed meetings, meaning they weren’t as transparent as required. There were also inadequate security measures for city computers, exposing important city records to the risk of unauthorized access or data loss. Moreover, the city lacks a proper records management and retention policy, particularly for electronic communications, which does not align with the guidelines provided by the Missouri Secretary of State Records Services Division.

The complete audit of the City of Waverly can be found here.

Share post:

Subscribe

Latest

More like this
Related

Missouri taxpayers surprised by reduced credits for food pantry donations

Jefferson City, Missouri - Because of Missouri's annual cap...

Three Missouri agencies receive nearly $11 million from booming recreational marijuana market

Kansas City, Missouri - With June sales of $119.6...

Kansas business owner and Missouri woman admit roles in $4.7 million drug conspiracy

Kansas City, Missouri - A 48-year-old Mexican citizen, Ana...