Auditor Galloway finds weak financial condition, ongoing concerns with transfers of sales tax funds in Miller County

County received overall rating of "fair"; Includes recommendations to improve operations in several county offices

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (Jan. 15, 2018) Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released a regularly-scheduled audit of Miller County, which received an overall rating of "fair". The audit found the county continues to struggle to avoid a deficit in the jail and 911 funds and needs to better track the use of capital improvement sales tax dollars transferred to these funds.

"The county continues to struggle to fund 911 communications and the jail, both critical functions of county government," Auditor Galloway said. "More work needs to be done to ensure these programs are managed as efficiently as possible. When the county must transfer funds to support these essential services, that action must be done in a way that taxpayers know their dollars are spent in accordance with the law."

At the end of 2017, both the 911 Emergency Fund and Jail Fund had balances of $1. In order to avoid a deficit in these funds, county officials transferred more than $1 million from the Capital Improvement Fund to the 911 and jail funds that year.

Miller County voters approved a 1/2-cent capital improvement sales tax for funding capital improvements to county-owned buildings and paying costs of maintenance and utilization of those buildings. The audit found the county did not track the transfers made from the Capital Improvement Fund to ensure the funding was only spent for these restricted purposes.

The audit also found the need for increased financial oversight in the county collector's office. The collector has not filed annual settlements for the last four fiscal years, as required by state law and did not prepare bank reconciliations during the audit period. The report also recommended the county collector work with the county commission to better limit access to the property tax system to reduce the risk of information being inappropriately altered or deleted.

Additional recommendations in the report include:  

Improving oversight in the sheriff's office and ensuring a periodic inventory of seized property is conducted.
Following statutory bidding requirements for SB40 board projects and discontinuing the practice of giving gift cards to employees, a practice that is in violation of the Missouri Constitution.
Ensuring meeting minutes are prepared and maintained for all County Commission meetings.

The audit report on Miller County is available here.

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