Monroe County audit finds assessor gave improper waivers on personal property taxes; report highlights other concerns with county government operations, gives rating of “fair”

Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway Wednesday released an audit of Monroe County, located in northeast Missouri.  The report highlighted concerns in several county offices, including the improper issuing of personal property tax waivers by the county assessor.  The audit gave a rating of “fair.”

“Our audit found several problems that should be addressed in order to better serve the taxpayers of Monroe County,” Auditor Galloway said.  “The biggest concern was the issuing of personal property tax waivers without appropriate review or documentation.  I urge county officials to implement the safeguards recommended in the audit.”

The audit found the county assessor had not established proper controls or procedures for issuing personal property tax waivers requested by taxpayers.  In some cases, motor vehicle records showed the taxpayer still owned the vehicle, and so the waivers were issued in violation of state law.  Of the waivers reviewed in the audit, 30 percent were issued for personal property owned on Jan. 1 of the year waived.

The audit also found the public administrator was not always filing annual settlements timely in compliance with state law; the county collector was not properly maintaining a running checkbook balance or preparing adequate bank reconciliations for two of the five bank accounts; and improvements are needed in the county’s procedures over rock and culvert sales and abatement’s of property taxes.

Other audit findings included the county assessor’s office not having proper controls or procedures for receipting, recording, and transmitting payments received; and county records being inadequately protected and susceptible to unauthorized access or loss of data because of poor controls over county computers.

Also, the Monroe County Developmental Disabilities Resource Board had not prepared adequate budgets, as required by state law.  That finding had also been reported in the three previous county audits.

A copy of the audit can be found here.

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