Auxvasse audit would probe finances, cost city thousands

— Officials here said a petition circulating to have the state audit the city’s finances in response to utility bills and the well project could cost citizens more money in the long run.

The petition was started by Auxvasse citizen Sheral Johnson, who is dissatisfied with water and sewer rates that she called “ridiculous and are continuing to go up.” Johnson also felt that the billing system was flawed and city funds were mismanaged, and that a state audit was needed to get to the bottom of the issue.

By Missouri law, citizens have the right to call upon the State Auditor’s office to audit any political subdivision by petition, so long as a number of registered voters living in that jurisdiction sign a petition based on a percentage of the number of votes that jurisdiction cast in the most recent gubernatorial election.

In this case, Johnson has one year from when the state issued her petition forms in June to produce 161 signatures. Johnson said she had 125 signatures during an interview with the Fulton Sun Aug. 14.

But the cost incurred during the audit process, which the auditor’s office has estimated at between $35,000 to $50,000, would have to be picked up by the city. It’s an audit city aldermen say will find nothing wrong at a cost that would have to be taken out of city budget, or could even result in additional water rate hikes.

“We’re not a business. We don’t make a profit, so whatever expenditures come in, we have to have income to pay for it,” said southward alderman Terry Walker.

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