JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (March 5, 2019) — Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced her office has completed an audit of the Crawford County Collector and Property Tax System. The audit recommended increased oversight of the county's property tax system and questioned spending by the former collector from the Tax Maintenance Fund.
"An audit should serve as a tool for officeholders to improve operations, better serve citizens and protect taxpayer dollars," Auditor Galloway said. "Work needs to be done in the Crawford County Collector's office to increase oversight and prevent potentially inappropriate spending."
The Tax Maintenance Fund includes a portion of penalties collected on late taxes. Under state law, the fund is used for the administration and operation costs of the county collector's office, but the audit detailed several concerning expenditures. Between 2014 and 2017, the former County Collector hired and paid her sister from the fund to prepare and mail annual tax statements, which led to nepotism allegations. The former collector then used Tax Maintenance Funds to pay for $1,000 in personal legal fees she accrued during a Missouri Ethics Commission inquiry. The Collector resigned due to the nepotism concerns in March 2018.
The report also recommended better oversight of the property tax system to ensure accounts are accurate and complete. Several of the findings related to improving financial processes were previously identified in past audits of the county.
Missouri law requires an audit be performed when a vacancy occurs in a county collector office. The complete audit, which received an overall rating of fair, can be found here.