Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the city of Town and Country, located in St. Louis County. Residents of Town and Country requested the audit through the petition process.
Auditors detailed poor planning by the city on the Town Square development project, resulting in changes that cost taxpayers more than $1.3 million beyond than the original cost estimate. Additionally, the Board of Aldermen approved significant changes to the project without competitively bidding the work. Examples include modifications to landscaping and trail connections ($369,324); modifications to pavilion and structures ($627,399); and supply and installation of security cameras ($50,290).
Additionally, auditors found that the Planning and Public Works department did not ensure the city's contractor obtained the required county permits for construction of the Mason Trail project prior to starting the project. The city eventually ended the trail project and repaired the area impacted by the initial work. The unnecessary costs to the city for all the work totaled $140,313.
In their response to the audit, city officials agreed with Auditor Galloway's recommendation that all project details be finalized before entering into a contract for construction projects, and to ensure all required permits are obtained prior to starting construction.
"This audit has revealed several shortcomings of the Town Square project that resulted in unnecessary added costs for taxpayers," Auditor Galloway said. "I appreciate the engagement of citizens in this process and the willingness of town officials to adopt our recommendations in order to prevent similar mistakes in the future."
Auditors also recommended improvements in the city's procurement procedures and contracts, accounting controls and procedures, compliance with the city code regarding alleged violations of the code of ethics, closed meeting minutes documentation, and electronic communication policies.
A complete copy of the audit, which gives a rating of "good," is available here.