A state review of University City made public today gives the municipality a "C" when it comes to its management practices.
The report by Missouri auditor Tom Schweich, which covered June 2009 to June 2010, found several instances where the city failed to follow best practices. For example:
- The collector's office didn't make sure that revenue it transmits to various departments was properly deposited.
- The company that manages the city's parking structure did not provide much documentation of its expenses, and the management contract had not been re-bid since the 1990s.
- The city's delinquent trash bills totaled nearly $2.7 million, or about 7 percent of the city's budget.
- City officials did not always document the reasons they closed meetings, and members of the CIty Council did not receive timely information about the budget.
- The city did not have a comprehensive emergency plan for its computer systems.
Schweich said there's no indication that the lax accounting controls led to money being misspent, other than a small instance of credit card fraud.
"What we found was a lack of controls that would be conducive to fraud and embezzlement, and until they get their controls in place they can't protect against these kinds of crimes," he said.
Schweich applauded the residents who forced the audit through the petition process, but said they shouldn't use the findings as political ammunition.
"What we want is for people to look at the recommendations, implement the recommendations, and make the city better. Take this constructively, make the changes, and move on."
In its response to the audit, the city said it agrees with Schweich's recommendations, has already implemented some of them, and has a time frame for others.