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$145,000 state audit of City of Joplin now underway - KOAM TV 7

$145,000 state audit of City of Joplin now underway

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A state audit of the City of Joplin, costing up to $145,000, began today.    

A representative from the MO State Auditor's Office addressed Joplin City Council tonight, stating survey work is now underway to determine weak areas in need of further investigation.

The surveying also includes a look at closed session minutes, to determine whether the state's Sunshine Law has been violated.

5,000 citizens signed a petition for the audit, which representatives say shows its importance to the community.

"We'll start by asking just simple questions, reviewing minutes of the council, reviewing transactions," said Pamela Trillery, audit manager.

"It's very important," said Morris Glaze, Mayor Pro Tem for City of Joplin.  "There are concerns out there, among the citizens, of how we've conducted business, and I hope we get all of their answers."

Auditors say the time table for the audit cannot be put into place until all survey work is conducted.

City officials expect the entire process to take about a year to complete.

The council also tonight approved a zoning request regarding the location of a new Walmart Neighborhood Market.

The location includes properties off Maiden Lane between 24th Street and 26th Street, zoning districts which had previously been deemed office and neighborhood commercial zones.

Officials say rezoning is necessary for plans to include a gas station at the store.

City staff members also expect more development could follow.

"There are always a few businesses that follow Walmart into an area," said Matt Wright, Planning & Community Development Planner, City of Joplin.  "It's possible that we may see a few additional developments nearby."

Wright says once the rezoning is approved, developers can then submit plans for a building permit.

A final vote on the zoning request will be held at the next council meeting.

Also tonight, council members approved a bid for the construction of a new public safety training tower, located off Highway 171.

Plans for the complex have been in the works since the public safety sales tax was approved in 2006.

The $698,970 bid with WHP Training Towers will entail a four-story facility with thermal lined walls, allowing hands-on training for police and fire departments.

"We usually use old dilapidated structures and sometimes we have to travel to other towns to utilize this type of training," said Chief Jim Furgerson, Joplin Fire Department.  "With our own building, it's going to be more economical and it will be safer."

Construction is expected to begin sometime within the next few months.
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