Office of the State Auditor of Missouri
Claire McCaskill

September 23, 1999
Report No. 99-82

Some problems were discovered as a result of an audit conducted by our office in response to the request of petitioners from the City of Brownington, Missouri.

In 1885 Brownington was incorporated as a village; however, the governing body of Brownington has been operating as a fourth class city for many years. Brownington elects a Mayor and a Board of Aldermen similar to a fourth class city, and levies and collects taxes consistent with the laws governing a fourth class city. In addition, numerous ordinances and official records refer to Brownington as a city.

While state law allows voters within the Village to elect by majority vote to become a fourth class city, there is no documentation to indicate that the classification of Brownington was ever officially changed from a village to a fourth class city. We recommend the Board of Aldermen consult legal counsel to determine the status of Brownington's classification.

The city does not have a formal bidding policy. As a result, the decision of whether to solicit bids for a particular purchase is made on an item-by-item basis. During the past several years, bids were either not solicited or bid documentation was not kept in some instances.

A company owned by the brother of a board member was paid $2,355 in October 1997, for siding for the city's community building. The minutes of the board meeting where this purchase was discussed do not include details of the vote by specific board members, and give no indication that the brother abstained from voting on this purchase. While city officials indicate that the city paid a wholesale price for the siding, there is no indication that bids were obtained from any other source.

Discussions and decisions concerning transactions where a potential conflict of interest exists should be completely documented so that the public has assurance that no city official or agent has improperly profited.

The City receives state motor vehicle-related revenues and deposits them into its General Fund. The Missouri Constitution requires motor vehicle-related revenues apportioned by the State of Missouri be expended for street-related purposes. The city has not established a spearate fund or separate accounting for those revenues and expenditures and does not monitor the use of these funds to ensure compliance with the Missouri Constitution.

The city does not prepare and adopt annual budgets. State law requires the preparation of an annual budget which shall present a complete financial plan for the ensuing year.

The city's ordinance book is not complete. Several ordinance numbers are not included in the book, two ordinances have the same number, and there is no index of all ordinances passed by the city. Since ordinances represent legislation which has been passed by the Board of Aldermen to govern the city and its residents, it is important that the ordinances be maintained in a complete, well organized, and up-to-date manner. Such items as duties and compensation of city officials and the annual tax levy should be set forth in the ordinances to give the taxpayers information on how the city is to be governed.

The City Clerk also serves as the City Treasurer, and with the exception of property tax collection, is responsible for most of the record keeping duties of the city. To safeguard against possible loss or misuse of funds, internal controls could be improved by segregating duties to the extent possible.

An annual maintenance plan for city streets has not been prepared. We recommend the Board of Aldermen prepare a formal maintenance plan for city streets at the beginning of the fiscal year and periodically update the plan throughout the year. In addition, the board should review the progress made in the repair and maintenance of streets to make appropriate decisions on future projects.

Complete Audit Report

Missouri State Auditor's Office