by Alan McArthur
The Platte County Collector’s office has requested bids for a new armored car service because the company that formerly provided the service has sold and stopped the required pickup for the county.
The change resulted in county collector's employees personally transporting bank deposits in an unsecured manner for more than a week, until the practice was questioned by The Landmark.
Because of the change, collector’s office personnel were forced to take the deposit from both the collector's office in the administration building in Platte City and the collector's satellite office at the Annex in Platte Woods to a bank in the downtown Kansas City area. County personnel had been doing it since Sept. 10 without being accompanied by any type of security.
Late Tuesday after The Landmark had interviewed several county officials about the practice, Donna Nash, county collector, called the newspaper to say the security issue has been resolved through an arrangement with the sheriff's department. She said the sheriff's department advised her not to give details about what steps will be taken.
Garda Enterprises recently purchased the county’s former armored car service provider, PSI Armored, and some services changed. The collector’s office received a letter from the bank on Monday, Aug. 27 stating the same day delivery of deposits would stop on Monday, Sept. 10.
Nash then issued a bid request through the county commission on Thursday, Sept. 6. The deadline for bids is Thursday, Sept. 20 with the signing of a contract expected to be the following week on Thursday, Sept. 27.
Missouri has created statutes making certain requirements of all county collectors. The requirements state the county collector must deposit all money the day after it is received. Missouri statute RSMo 52.360 reads:
“The county collector, in all counties of the first class not having a charter form of government and in all counties of the second class, shall deposit each day in the depositaries selected by the county for the deposit of county funds, all money received by him as county collector during the day previous, and make a daily report thereof to the county auditor.”
This requirement means the money received is immediately available for use by the county the next day.
However, Garda will not deliver on the same day. They wanted to pick up the money and hold it in the company’s vaults overnight and deliver the money to the bank the following day.
The situation is further complicated by the county’s bank not being nearby. The county has a contract with a large bank located outside of Platte City.
“A lot of county collectors take the money to the bank themselves, although their banks are usually not as far away as ours,” said Nash.
A viable option for the collector’s office would be for a sheriff’s deputy to escort the person with the deposit to the bank.
“The sheriff’s department has not yet been approached to provide security,” said Captain Frank Hunter, sheriff’s department public information officer told The Landmark.
“We (provide security) when we take money to the bank for sheriff’s department deposits. An on-duty deputy will go with the person to the bank, which is usually just across the street.”
The commissioners have expressed support for the collector’s office getting a deputy escort to the bank.
“We are working with Donna and are willing to give her anything she would need to feel comfortable,” Tom Pryor, first district commissioner, told The Landmark early Tuesday afternoon.
The new company is still providing service to other county offices. Under the previous contract, PSI Armored provided pick-up service for the collector’s office and the treasurer’s office. Currently the treasurer’s office is using the new company under the same contract.
“For now we are still using the company,” said Bonnie Brown, county treasurer. “At this point we are allowing the overnight deposits, because it gives us a chance to look at a new way of doing a remote deposit.”
Brown stated the treasurer might cancel the service in the future depending on the availability of the remote deposit.
Every four years the county requests bids for a bank. According to Becky Dye, deputy collector, not many local banks bid to work with the county anymore.
“The county usually receives a lot of money at the end of the year that is stored at the bank for about five days,” said Dye. “Because of the large amount collected, banks are required to have insurance to cover it, which gets expensive since it only stays a few days. Many small banks do not want to bid.”
Because of this, the county was forced to choose a bank that is outside of the county, officials said.