Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released an audit of the City of Northwoods in St. Louis County. The audit was initiated by Northwoods residents, who submitted more than the required 359 signatures.
"This audit highlights opportunities for the city of Northwoods to improve its processes and procedures," Auditor Galloway said. "Addressing these findings will reduce the risk that public dollars could be abused and ensures the city is acting in the best interest of taxpayers."
The audit found purchases that were questionable and not properly bid. This included more than $2,300 in public funds spent for retirement parties. Approximately $950 of that came from the city's asset forfeiture account, which is not allowed under the law because the funds can only be spent on specific uses. The city also failed to get bids on tree removal services, which cost $84,000 over two years. Banking services were also not bid out.
The report recommends the city implement ordinances establishing the compensation of city officials and employees. It also recommends the city work to quickly deposit large amounts to prevent theft or misuse and minimize potential bookkeeping errors by reducing the 18 bank accounts maintained by the city.
In addition, the audit raises concerns with the city's adherence to the Sunshine Law when entering into closed session during meetings.
The city received an overall performance rating of good. A copy of the complete report is online here.