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Citizen petitioned audit by state leaves Liberal with poor ratin - KOAM TV 7

Citizen petitioned audit by state leaves Liberal with poor rating

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At the request of residents, the Missouri State Auditor has completed his findings involving the community of Liberal. The results were released at 6 p.m. Tuesday and came back with a rating of "poor". With that, comes suggestions of changes from the Board of Alderman's office.

The town of liberal Missouri may be small...but these people want their voices heard.

"We need to know more about the people we vote into our offices." says resident, Thelma Spurling. 

"Somebody knows what happened to that 92 thousand dollars that's supposedly missing." says Pat Rea, a Liberal Resident.

City residents petitioned the town to be audited over management and financial issues. State auditors gave the city a poor rating.

"It's history. I don't think we can go back and fix anything that's occurred. Going forward, if the same kind of thing happens, I think people should be held accountable for that." says Deputy Auditor, Harry Otto.

One of the key findings in the audit are the faults of the city clerk. According to the findings, the city had a significant turnover for the position from 2012 to 2013. The city clerk is responsible for receiving, recording and the depositing of funds - since there is no city collector or treasurer positions. Through city records -- auditors found over $150,000 difference between bank balances and book balances.

"Due to the lack of oversight, poor records, we have no assurance that the city's monies were properly handled." says Otto.

There was also no record of water usage and amount of water pumped, that caused the city to suffer significant water loss, and funds due to bills not being adjusted.

"This is on the low side of poor. I will tell you that. Because it is poor we'll be back in 90 to 120 days, and see if the recommendations will be implemented that we talked about." says Otto.

The city is now working on getting funds in order, which may take several months. The deputy auditor says 124 signatures were needed to complete a petition audit. Liberal residents brought 134 to the table. The town has up to 120 days to fix the problems listed in the audit.

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