Butterfield responds to audit

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Butterfield City Council discussed the results of the Missouri State Audit at its regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 16.

Aldermen Carrol Hayes and Gary Florer said that they did not feel that the state auditors looked far enough into the village's accounting records.

"The petitioners wanted them to go back a lot further than just the last year," said Florer, who was named as the head petitioner on the audit petition that was filed in April.

"They said that they did not find anything in the audit that would require them to go back further than a year," said Hayes.

"It was also disappointing that they did not accept our responses the way we prepared them," said Mayor Tony Cope.

The original responses that were formulated by the Butterfield City Council would have further explained some of the audit concerns, said Cope.

The original audit responses pointed out that financial problems, which occurred in 2003, 2004 and 2005, were the result of the installation of a new sewer system, low sewer rates and unexpected emergency expenses.

Also, although it was not documented in the Board of Trustees minutes, the board did approve a $12,000 transfer from the Water and Sewer Fund to the General Fund made by City Clerk Georgia Wenell in 2005. Alternative documentation of the prior approval that the board offered the state auditors was not accepted.

The council agrees that the city does need to bid its banking services and plans to do this in the near future, but disagrees with auditors' findings regarding other bidding concerns. For instance, many of the purchases cited in the state audit were emergency purchases.

The council also believes that approval of the annual budget is preapproval of all operating expenses. All other expenses that do not fall under normal operating expenses are presented to the board for approval.

"In many areas, the state auditor's report exaggerated the findings," said Wenell. "We feel they should have stated specifically what they were referring to."

The auditor's report states that the city did not maintain complete mileage logs for city vehicles. City logs reflect mileage information for all vehicles except a newly purchased backhoe, said Wenell.

"Instead of saying the mileage logs were incomplete, they should have said that we didn't have a mileage log for our new backhoe," said Wenell.

The council members agreed that they felt many of the audit findings were exaggerated.

The state audit, which began in April and ended in September, will cost the City of Butterfield around $8,000.

In other business, the Butterfield City Council:

• Approved a request from God's Healing Centers, of Seligman, to use the community building for revival services.

• Voted to send Wenell to a Missouri City Clerks' Associa-tion regional training session in Springfield on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25.

• Accepted the 2005 audit from Mense, Churchwell and Mense, P.C.

The next Butterfield City Council meeting will be held on Nov. 20.

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