City officials in Forsyth have implemented or are in the process of implementing the recommendations of a state audit from March that gave the lowest possible rating. State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released a follow-up review of the city’s progress on the audit’s 12 recommendations.
The audit, which gave a rating of “poor,” found numerous concerns, including more than $1,400 missing from the city’s vault and another $2,000 in utility deposits that were received but never deposited by the former utility clerk. In addition to the missing money, the audit also found that thousands in utility deposits were not deposited until long after service had been activated.
“I am encouraged that after our audit uncovered these serious concerns, Forsyth officials have taken action to better protect taxpayer dollars, and I urge them to finish implementing the remaining recommendations,” Auditor Galloway said. “This is another instance of our audits getting results.”
The audit last March found that in 2019 the former utility clerk did not deposit $2,000 of recorded utility deposits, all paid in cash. In addition to the missing money, the audit also found that $6,400 in utility deposits were not deposited until between 20 and more than 121 days after activation of utility services. In addition, a master key that was missing from the city clerk’s desk was used to open the city vault, and $1,403 was stolen.
The follow-up report issued Monday said the Board of Aldermen indicated it is working with law enforcement officials on criminal prosecution regarding the theft, the undeposited utility deposits, and the untimely and questionable utility deposits, and will take the steps necessary to obtain restitution. The Taney County Sheriff’s office has completed its investigation and referred the case to the Taney County Prosecuting Attorney. To better protect money collected, the Board also has taken action to keep the money collected and keys in a secure location.
The audit recommended making improvements to accounting controls and procedures and to utility system controls and procedures. The follow-up report found those steps are in progress or have been implemented, including the handling of delinquent utility accounts. The Board of Aldermen has implemented better controls over the city computers to help ensure electronic data security.
A complete copy of the follow-up report on the city of Forsyth can be found here.