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After almost 20% sign petition for audit, Missouri report finds problems in Waverly

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(The Center Square) – After almost 20% of the population of the City of Waverly signed a petition for a state audit, the report resulted in a “fair” rating with several areas needing changes.

Waverly, with a U.S. Census enumerated population of 784, received approximately $1.2 million in tax, utility and other receipts during fiscal year 2022, according to the report released by Republican Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick. The report found problems in the city’s accounting controls and procedures, utility system, budgeting procedures, employee compensation ordinances, electronic data security, electronic communications policies and adherence to the state’s Sunshine Law.

The ”fair” rating indicates the entity needs to improve operations in several areas and is above the “poor” rating, indicating the entity needs to significantly improve operations. “Excellent” is the highest rating, with no findings, followed by “good,” with a few findings and progress toward implementing needed changes.

“I hope our report gives the residents of Waverly, who took the time to obtain the signatures necessary to trigger the audit, a more detailed understanding of the areas where their city needs to become more efficient and transparent,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “Our recommendations give city officials a path forward to increase their level of accountability and provide residents with the kind of city government that minimizes waste and uses each tax dollar as effectively as possible.”

The report found the city violated the Missouri Constitution by providing employees with year-end bonuses of $15,650 during the last nine years. Four full-time and two part-time city employees received a total of $3,050 in year-end bonus payments in November 2021 with the amounts ranging from $250 to $750.

The audit found the city’s board approved pay increases for its employees on Jan. 1, 2022, without an ordinance establishing compensation amounts for employees and city officials. No documentation was provided to support the approval of the raises.

The city agreed to all findings in the report and pledged to improve or update financial controls and policies. It also stated it discontinued paying employee bonuses.

City employees weren’t billed the base rate for water or sewer usage, a combined value of $49.54 per month for each employee, according to the audit. It also found several city employees weren’t billed for trash and other fees.

“The total amount employees were not charged during the year ended June 30, 2022, was $3,059,” the audit stated.

The audit stated Mayor Barbara Schreiman is paid $100 for the first meeting and $25 for each additional meeting during the month. There are four members of the board of aldermen and they receive $75 for the first meeting and $25 for each additional meeting during the month.

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