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5-22-09

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIG TROUBLE IN
LITTLE IATAN

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

State auditors want the village of Iatan to show them the money.

More precisely, about $900 which is unaccounted for after being paid to two board of trustees members.

In addition, state auditors want village officials to consult legal counsel and contact law enforcement about some irregularities uncovered by a recent state probe.

According to a recently-released report from the office of Susan Montee, Missouri State Auditor, the village located in northwest Platte County paid former board chairman Floyd Harris and former board member Tom Coffey in 2007.

In 2007, the city paid Harris $1,400 to purchase a new mower for the city cemetery. The board then received a $600 mower in February 2009, but never received the extra $800, according to the state auditor.

According to the documents, this payment of $1,400 was not approved by the board.

The city also paid former trustee Coffey $100 to purchase a shed in 2007, but never received the shed. The audit also recommends “the village should consult legal counsel and law enforcement to resolve these matters.”

In addition to the missing money, the audit also cites the board for issues related to conflicts of interest.

The audit found that in April 2007, trustees Mark Anderson and Harris voted to appoint their relatives to positions in the city government. The two voted to appoint Alice Wendleton to the position of city clerk. According to the state audit report, Wendleton is the cousin of Anderson and the mother of Harris.

The board also voted to appoint Coffey to a position as trustee. Coffey is the uncle of Anderson and the cousin of Harris.

Also during 2007, Mark Anderson was paid $220 and David Anderson, trustee, was paid $60 for mowing at the city's cemetery.

In 2008, Mark Anderson resigned his position after being confronted with the allegations. Harris completed his term and did not seek reelection in April 2009.

The audit also found that the village board violated state law by not holding a public hearing to approve the tax levy for the village since August 2006 and has not officially voted to set the tax levy since August 2006.

In addition to not setting the levy rate, the city never passed an ordinance setting the fee charged for non-resident use of the village's dumpster. The board set the fee at $12 per month, but did not show how the fee was determined prior to being set in September 2006.

The village has not submitted annual financial reports to the state auditor since 2004, according to the audit.

The audit determined the village does not prepare an annual budget. Missouri statutes require a budget in order to expend public money.

The city is also not retaining documents such as minutes from meetings and the records being stored do not include information required by law.

These documents are required to be stored by the village according to the Missouri Sunshine Law.

The audit also finds the village violated the Sunshine Law by not posting notice of meetings or agendas during 2006 and 2007. Meeting notices and agendas are required to be posted 24 hours in advance of a public government meeting.

Missouri law also requires municipalities to publish or post financial statements. The audit shows the board said the statements were posted at the town hall, but there is no record to support the statement.

The village is required to publish the semi-annual statements in a local newspaper, or if there is no newspaper “to post semi-annual financial statements in at least six of the most public places in the village.” The village faces fines if they do not post the information.

The audit of Iatan was requested by a petition signed by residents of the village.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Iatan had a population of 54 and was incorporated in 1973.

The board of trustees is comprised of five members who are elected to two-year terms.

The state auditor's office is currently auditing the City of Tracy and the Platte County Public Water Supply District #6. Both audits were requested through citizen petitions.

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