Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway released her citizen-requested audit of the City of Homestead Village, a small community near Excelsior Springs in Ray County. This audit was initiated when qualified voters in the village gathered the required number of petition signatures to trigger an audit under Missouri law.
Auditors identified at least $4,348 in customer sewer payments recorded as received but not deposited by the former City Clerk from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2020. At least $4,228 of the missing amount was recorded by the clerk as being received in cash but was not deposited in the bank. In addition, the former clerk falsified her own 2019 customer ledger by indicating payments occurred on her account when they had not. Based on the timing and amounts of missing money, it is likely additional money is missing in periods before January 2018.
The report cites a lack of segregation of duties, inadequate controls, and the absence of oversight by the Board of Alderman as a contributing cause in missing money remaining undetected for so long. Galloway’s audit recommends that the Board of Aldermen work with law enforcement regarding the prosecution of the missing money and take the necessary actions to seek restitution.
“The former City Clerk betrayed her position of public trust. It is encouraging that city officials have committed to work with law enforcement to hold the former City Clerk accountable,” Galloway said. “My office is prepared to assist them in any way they need because the taxpayers of Homestead Village deserve competence and accountability from their municipal government.”
Auditors identified a general lack of accounting controls and oversight throughout village government, which contributed to the sewer payments going missing. The City Clerk is responsible for most financial duties in the city, but the Board of Alderman needs to perform better oversight according to the report. Board members indicated they were reviewing some financial records of the city, such as bank statements, but failed to implement significant reviews of depositing functions.
A complete copy of the audit report, which resulted in a rating of “poor,” is available here.