July 24, 2003

Scotland County Audit Paints Positive Picture Despite Minor Issues

No one likes to hear the word audit (except maybe auditors) but it is a regular occurrence for public bodies such as city and county governments. Scotland County recently underwent an audit of the 2001 and 2002 fiscal years by the office of Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill as part of the regularly scheduled state reviews.

The audit was performed by Arthur White & Associates, L.L.C., Certified Public Accountants and was officially filed with the state on June 30. The audit was performed on the special-purpose financial state-ments of various funds main-tained by the county.

Overall the county received a positive report for the two fiscal years, which combined represented more than $5.2 million in expenditures and $5.5 million in revenues that left the county with a positive budget balance of more than $700,000 at the end of the 2002 year. The County Commission indicated it was pleased with the audit results and noted that appropriate steps were being taken to remedy the issues pinpointed by the report.

The county received a positive report with only a few issues of noncompliance with the government auditing standards.

Several issues were strictly record keeping suggestions passed on by the auditors.

State statutes require the county publish an annual financial statement in the local newspaper. The audit noted that the county has published the required statement but indicated the published report did not include all county funds.

The Scotland County Commission took the issue under advisement and noted it would make the necessary efforts to insure all funds are included in the annual financial statement for publication.

The audit also noted that state statutes prohibit local governments from making expenditures beyond the approved budget for the fiscal year. The audit noted that the county has exceeded budgeted amounts in different areas and recommended the county commission not authorize disbursements in excess of budgeted amounts. The report noted that in extenuating circumstances over expenditures are allowable but should be fully documented with the budgets properly amended and then forwarded to the state auditor's office.

Another point raised by the auditors was the control over county disbursements. The auditor noted the county commission uses a single stamp to approve payments. This stamp is easily accessible to the staff of the county clerk's office and while there were absolutely no signs of improprieties it still represented a lack of security.

The audit also noted that invoices were often not approved by the county clerk's office, nor were they cancelled as paid.

The report recommended better controls over cash disbursements and noted the failure to approve invoices, cancel invoices and limit access to the warrant approval stamp increased the risk of errors or irregularities. It went on simply to recommend that the commission either eliminate the stamp and approve warrants by signature or to limit the access to the stamp to only the county commission while also suggesting the county clerk insures that all invoices are signed and canceled appropriately to insure the proper paperwork procedure.

The county officials were in complete agreement with the recommendations.

The final bookkeeping issue related to fixed assets. The county is required to maintain a fixed assets list for all major equipment and property purchases or dispositions. The audit indicated that no purchases have been recorded on the fixed assets list since 1993 nor have any sales of county property been recorded since that time.

The county noted this was an oversight and indicated the list would be brought up to date.

The audit report went on to address the county's purchasing procedures. In particular the report sited several county purchases where there was no documentation or evidence that bids were sought prior to purchases being made.

Under Missouri Statute all purchases that exceed $4,500 are required to be done by bid with documentation being maintained for all vendors from whom bids were requested as well as all following bid information.

The audit noted that more than $225,000 in road rock was purchased without a bid process. Other purchases that did not seem to meet the law include $14,500 in steel beams, $6,080 in road and bridge supplies, $5,900 in truck repairs, $5,460 for courthouse repairs and $9,530 for pipe.

The County Commission countered the issue by noting that the remoteness of the region often limits the county in potential suppliers.

The auditor indicated that if circumstances are deemed to warrant a purchase without a bidding process that the issue must be documented to insure legal compliance.

Other issues reported in the audit included improved computer security as well as a documented policy for payments of expenses incurred by the county's prosecuting attorney's office.

The auditor noted that computer programs controlling property taxes, payroll and disbursement systems are not adequately restricted, meaning personnel in the county clerk, treasurer and collectors offices will be required to utilize passwords to prevent unauthorized access to the materials by other individuals.

The county is working with the software manufacturer to update the systems to include passwords and additional security.

The county also is in the process of securing an annual agreement with the prosecuting attorney's office to determine actual office expenses and the percentage of time the office is used for county business to allow the county to generate an appropriate formula for reimbursement of these costs.

The audit noted that during the 2001 and 2002 year prosecuting attorney Susan Henry's unsupported expense reimbursements were not reported on her W-2 as required by law.

The problem centers around the fact the prosecuting attorney does not maintain an office in the courthouse and throughout the years the number of past prosecuting attorneys have simply operated out of their private law office with the county paying a set allowance for office expenses, including utilities, postage, telephone, library/upkeep, etc. The process has been in place for numerous years but the auditor suggested the payments be based on actual expenditures documented by the office as opposed to a set monthly rate.

The final audit recommendation regarded minutes from the county commission meetings. The report noted that meeting minutes often lacked sufficient detail of discussions and votes taken. Items such as bid solicitations and selections, transfers between funds and various other decisions were not always documented to the fullest degree. Finally the auditor recommended the minutes be prepared in a more timely manner to allow for the documents to be reviewed to insure accuracy.

The county agreed to make efforts to improve the record keeping process for the meetings.

Downing House Museum Complex News

The Museum Complex has had a very busy summer. We have been fortunate to have some great volunteers who have worked this summer providing tours and updating and cleaning the buildings and displays. Volunteers who have given their time are: June Kice, Gwendolyn Lohmann, AnnaLynn Kirkpatrick, Lynnette Dyer, Melissa Miller, Natalie Miller, Holly Harris, Marie Ebeling, Sandra Ebeling, Janet Hamilton, Elaine Forrester, Diana Koontz, Ruth Ann Carnes, Julie Clapp, Rhonda McBee, and the US Bank employees. We are still gathering aluminum cans to raise funds for the upkeep of our grounds. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to drop those off at the museum and to Elaine Forrester for gathering cans from several local businesses and community friends. Angel Arnold has kindly offered to take the cans with Iowa markings to the recycle center in Bloomfield, Iowa.

A summer thunderstorm brought down some very large tree branches, so the old maple on the front lawn of the Downing House received a much needed trim. Joel Kapfer donated the use of his power lift for Robert Waddell to clean and trim all of the trees in the front lawn. We have also began to refurbish the Rose Garden. It is a work in progress, but we hope to plant new roses in the near future. The local Boy Scout group worked at putting new sand into the brick sidewalk in the garden to maintain it.

The front of the Museum Complex is now illuminated with new outside lighting. Lamp posts and LED lights light the front of the Downing House and the Boyer House. This was made possible by memorial gifts given in memory of Florine Forrester.

The Carriage House is being furnished and is beginning to take shape. We have several tools, blacksmith items, and farm items displayed. New blinds have been hung in the Memphis Depot to help prevent sun damage to items that are found inside on the west side of the historic building.

The Museum Complex will be open on Friday and Saturday during the Scotland County Antique Fair from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  We will not be charging admission, but will ask for free will donations from patrons. We will be displaying several antique quilts in the Downing House music room and parlor on the first floor of the museum. The gift shop will be open with our coverlets, rugs, and museum memorabilia available to purchase. We are once again hosting the Lawn Party. Lunch will be served by the Rutledge School Restoration Society. Serving will begin as soon as the parade concludes. The menu includes pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, green beans, salads and desserts. The Heritage Band will be playing on the lawn for entertainment.

If you haven’t been to the museum complex lately, please come by for lunch and tour our wonderful facility, see our new carriage house and view our beautiful quilts. We have some wonderful local history to share.

Birding Season

Birding season is quieting down, although I am still enjoying my baby blues and the busy hummingbirds. Most of my sugar consumption goes to hummingbirds. They are hungry.

If you are planning to set up a nice bird feeding station, now would be a good time to measure it off and kill the grass, plant shrubs and get it mulched before winter.  Pick out the feeders that you want to get placed and get ready for an exciting winter of bird feeding.

It is a well known fact that I live in the area that Tom Horn was born and lived for a time.  As I have written, he left home when he was 13 and never looked back. By the time he had been gone from home for a year,  he was on Beaver Head Creek, in the heart of Indian country and could speak Mexican fairly well.  His feelings were so different and his life was so different from the way it was when he left home that it seemed to Tom that he had been on the stage line all his life.

During some of his travels, he was hired as a scout and interpreter.  He would be drawing $100 a month. He and the guy he worked with even had the occasion to speak to interpret for Geronimo. He also worked helping return Indians to the reservations, helping them get blankets, rations, and other needed items.

Horn’s next job was in 1879 helping furnish beef to the Indians for $150 for one month.  The Indians he was dealing with were the Chiricahua. San Carlos was near the Gila River and so was Camp Thomas where Horn did some of his dealings. At this time of turmoil, was the beginning of the Indian War. He continued to translate and guide officers through this Indian war.  Early on in 1881, the Indians and Mexicans were always in turmoil. Horn was very intelligent and knew how to deal with both Mexicans and Indians. More to come later.

Continue mixing up your sugar water 1/4 c. sugar to one cup water, keep it fresh, and no need to fill the feeder completely up. No need to add red coloring, and no need to boil. I would not recommend using anything but granulated sugar, organic raw sugar will not sweeten the same and will also spoil faster.  Until next time, good bird watching.

SCR-I Board of Education Approves Tax Rate Increase

money grad

After eight years of deficit budgets, the school board increased the tax levy to $3.50,  well below the $3.69 voter-approved ceiling.

The Scotland County R-I School District ended an eight-year pattern of deficit spending and is looking to a bump in next year’s tax levy to help start a new trend.

The SCR-I Board of Education met August 18th and unanimously approved a tax rate increase for the 2016-17 school year. The board set the 2016 levy rate at $3.50, an increase from $3.3928 in 2015.

The hike is expected to generate an additional $110,000 in revenue that Superintendent Ryan Bergeson indicated will be utilized in helping to meet maintenance and facility costs.

“Basically we felt like we were in a position where we really need the added revenue to help us to continue to provide quality educational opportunities for our kids,” said Bergeson.

The revenue increase represents what amounts to a 1.7% budget increase overall for the district, which forecasted expenditures of $6.328 million in 2016-17.

The district has benefited from positive balances, which allowed it to weather nearly a decade of deficit spending.

But faced with growing maintenance needs as well as facility upgrades, Bergeson said the board decided to move forward with the tax rate increase, while choosing to still remain well below the voter approved tax rate ceiling.

More than a decade ago, local voters approved a $3.69 tax rate ceiling, a rate the board of education has never reached, instead offering voluntary rollbacks every year since the ceiling was established.

“I would estimate that these levy rollbacks have saved taxpayers around $2 million over the past several years,” said Bergeson.

The state also plays a role in the levy rate. The Hancock Amendment sets limits on the rates at which tax revenues can increase. For school districts, that specifically correlates with local assessed valuations, meaning if new construction or other upgrades cause significant increases in the total assessed valuation of the tax district, the district’s tax rate ceiling is lowered to try to prevent revenue windfalls that weren’t intended.

In 2016, the adjusted tax rate ceiling for SCR-I is $3.5949, meaning the board took a voluntary reduction of more than nine cents when establishing the current tax rate.

In 2015 the SCR-I tax rate went down to $3.3829 to account for a nearly $9 million increase in the district’s assessed valuation coming through the addition of the former Gorin R-III district. The tax rate in 2014 was $3.43.

The Gorin annexation also brought in some additional revenue in the form of the district’s existing cash balances, which helped SCR-I break the deficit budget trend as well.

“I think we were going to be close without it, but it definitely was a big boost that helped us meet some of our transportation needs,” said Bergeson.

With the Gorin balance transfer, SCR-I closed the 2015-16 fiscal year with $6,802,127.68 in revenue. With expenditures of $6,394,274.93, the district had a surplus year of $407,852.75.

Bergeson noted that a big chuck of that surplus has already been put into play with the recent purchase of three new buses and a fourth used bus.

“With a total of 18 buses in the fleet, we have a constant need for upgrading,” said Bergeson. “This one-time revenue increase from Gorin helped us address that in a significant fashion.”

The superintendent indicated that the district spent nearly $300,000 on the bus upgrades, a point of emphasis for the district, which has replaced 10 of the oldest buses in the past several years.

The remainder of last year’s surplus, combined with the added tax revenue from the levy increase will be used to meet the district’s day-to-day expenses with an eye toward looming upkeep and repairs as well as facility upgrades.

“The heating and air conditioning system at the elementary school is one issue we will likely be looking at,” said Bergeson. “Obviously we also have facility needs, and we’ll be considering all of our options on how to provide more classroom space and on how to house our early childhood programs.”

BOND ISSUE

In other business, the board addressed the August election results. Board President, Trinity Davis, appointed a Facilities Committee to continue working to address facility needs for the school district.  Davis appointed George Koontz, Jamie Triplett, herself, Ryan Bergeson, Erin Tallman, and Kirk Stott to the committee.  The first meeting was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Monday, August 22.

BLEACHERS

The board voted 6-0 to purchase the bleachers for the softball and baseball fields at a total cost to the district of $5,000.  The total cost of the bleachers was $10,000 and the Scotland County R-1 Booster Club agreed to contribute $5,000 for the upgrade.

BOARD MEETING

The September Board Meeting is set for Thursday, September 8, 2016 in the Elementary Art Room.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

The board approved Tia Hamilton as Junior High Cheerleading Coach and Shelby McAfee as Volunteer Cheer Coach.

Dr. Larry Wiggins Inducted into Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame

Missouri 4-H Foundation Chair Dr. Marla Tobin (left) with Scotland County 4-H volunteer Dr. Larry Wiggins. Photo by Amanda Stapp.

Missouri 4-H Foundation Chair Dr. Marla Tobin (left) with Scotland County 4-H volunteer Dr. Larry Wiggins. Photo by Amanda Stapp.

“Making the best better” for generations of Missouri 4-H Club members, Dr. Larry Wiggins of Memphis was inducted into the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame on Aug. 13 at State Fair Community College in Sedalia.

He was among 54 inductees from 40 counties establishing a legacy totaling 1,594 years of service to 4-H. More than 400 family members and friends attended the 10th annual event.

Dr. Larry Wiggins has dedicated more than 40 years of service to Scotland County 4-H. In the early 1970’s, he and his family were charter members of the Jolly Jacks and Jills 4-H Club, which remains one of the largest clubs in the county today.

Dr. Wiggins was the veterinary science project leader from the early 1970’s to the 1990’s, and held many of his project meetings during his small animal clinic, providing an incredible opportunity for 4-H members to witness a variety of animal science lessons. Today, he still welcomes 4-H and FFA members to visit his clinic for learning opportunities and job shadowing experiences.

The Missouri 4-H Foundation recognizes individuals who have created a legacy of service to 4-H by honoring them with membership in the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame, said Rachel Augustine, associate director of development for the Missouri 4-H Foundation.

“These volunteers have played a vital role in helping our youth develop essential life skills that will empower them to become strong leaders in the 21st-century workforce,” she said. “We are proud to honor their legacy of service to Missouri 4-H.”

The annual event is sponsored by FCS Financial and the Missouri State Fair in partnership with the Missouri 4-H Foundation.

“Our University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth faculty and staff work in partnership with our volunteers to see they have the support needed to empower youth to succeed as future leaders,” said Dr. Ina Metzger Linville, program director, MU Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development. “Dedicated faculty and staff, committed volunteers, and spirited 4-H’ers will continue to learn and grow together to help our youth and communities thrive.”

For more than 65 years, the Missouri 4-H Foundation has been managing funds for the MU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, providing higher education scholarships and recognizing 4-H volunteers. MU Extension 4-H is a community of more than 260,000 youths from across Missouri learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

Bar B Saddle Club Holds August Meeting

The Bar B Saddle Club of Bible Grove held their monthly meeting Monday, August 15th at the Club House.

Final plans were made for the horse and ATV’s Poker Ride. Discussion was held regarding the arena work and materials. Also, horseback riders are needed for the parades in Memphis on Saturday, August 27th (Antique Fair) and in Downing on Saturday, September 10th (Downing Appreciation).  All are welcome to come and ride with the Saddle Club.

The next meeting will be Thursday, September 1st at 6:00 p.m. at the Club House.

Scotland County Genealogical Society Holds August Meeting

The Scotland County Genealogical Society met Monday, August 8th with eight members present plus one new member.  Darlene Johnston called the meeting to order.

The secretary gave her report.  There wasn’t a treasurer’s report to give.

Under new business, Alisa Kigar inquired if we would like Dr. Heather Martin, a new member of SCH staff, to present a program.  Everyone agreed this sounded like a good program and she will be presenting at the September meeting.

There was no old business to discuss and President Johnston closed the meeting so the program could begin.

Bonnie Hayes gave the program this month on getting your DNA testing done through Ancestry.  We learned that 50% of our DNA comes from both our parents and that 50% of their DNA comes from each of their parents, and so on.  When getting back the results of your DNA, you will have a chart showing how different segments of DNA might have been passed down to each generation.  Siblings can have different segments than what you have.  Genetic inheritance is random and sibling’s ethnicity results are a great example of this.

Several members of the Genealogy Society have done the DNA testing so curiosity getting the best of me; I decided to give it a try to see what is in my blood line.  I know there is Irish and English so in a few weeks, I will know more.  If anyone would like more information about this, they can go in on Ancestry.com or ask a member of the Genealogy Society for help.

This was a good program and many thanks to Bonnie Hayes for having this program.

Following the program, refreshments were served by Darlene Johnston.  Thanks to Darlene.

The Genealogical Society would like to invite anyone to come to their meetings which are held once a month on the second Monday of each month at 1:30 p.m.  The meetings are held in the Genealogy Building across from the Memphis Fire Station.

Submitted by Terry Arnold, Secretary

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, August 25 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, August 26 – Sausage/Gravy Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, August 29 – Donuts, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Fruit Medley, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, August 30 –Pancakes, Choice of Cereal, Sausage Link, Toast/Jelly, Strawberries, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, August 31 – Ham/Cheese on Croissant, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Fruit Medley, Juice/Milk

Thursday, September 1 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, August 25 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Wrap, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Fruit Salad, Fresh Fruit

Friday, August 26 – Walking Taco, Fish Square/Bun, Diced Tomatoes, Cottage Cheese, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Monday, August 29 – Crispy Chicken Strips, Corn Dog, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Potato Rounds, Mixed Vegetables, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, August 30 – Chicken Patty/Bun, Cheeseburger/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Oven Ready Fries, Peas, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, August 31 – Salisbury Steak, Beef and Noodles, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Broccoli/Cheese Sauce, Dinner Roll, Sliced Pears, Fresh Fruit

Thursday, September 1 – Beef‘N’Tator Bake, Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Dinner Roll, Strawberries.

Lady Tigers Prevail 3-1 in Extra Innings to Win Season Opener

Julie Long puts down the sacrifice bunt during the Lady Tigers’ season opener at Putnam County on August 22nd. SCR-I picked up the 3-1 victory.

Julie Long puts down the sacrifice bunt during the Lady Tigers’ season opener at Putnam County on August 22nd. SCR-I picked up the 3-1 victory.

It took a little longer than normal, but the Scotland County softball squad opened the 2016 season in the win column with a 3-1 victory at Putnam County that took 10 innings to decide.

SCR-I jumped on top 1-0 in the top of the first inning. With one out, Stevi See crushed a double to left field which would have been out of most fields. The junior catcher came in to score on a two-out hit by Ashleigh Creek.

The lone run looked like it might hold up as Creek was perfect through two plus innings before a two-out hit and a walk created a scare in the bottom of the third. But she was able to coax a comebacker out of Kori Hornaday to end the threat.

Unfortunately, the SCR-I offense went completely quiet after the opening frame. Kendall Ingersoll retired six straight batters before See launched a deep flyball to center field that was misplayed for a two base error.

But the Lady Midgets’ pitcher worked out of the jam, going on to retire seven straight batters.

SCR-I’s best threat came in the sixth inning when Abi Feeney reached on an error. She stole second base and moved to third when the throw skipped into centerfield. But See ripped a liner down the third base line that was snagged by Jordan Holland at the bag to easily double off the runner and end the threat.

That proved costly, as Putnam County finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Kennedy Childers led off with a double. Following an SCR-I error that allowed Sara Webb to reach, Putnam County used a sacrifice bunt followed by an RBI groundout by Riley Rouse to knot the score at 1-1.

SCR-I was unable to take advantage of a leadoff walk to Kaylyn Anders in the eight, and then left two runners in scoring position in the ninth inning after a base hit by See and an error that allowed Creek to reach base.

After a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, Creek retired nine straight batters.

SCR-I finally broke through in the 10th inning. Anders walked to start the rally. Katie Feeney followed with a base hit. Abi Feeney reached on an error to load the bases with one out. See delivered a sacrifice fly to leftfield. Anders tagged up and beat the throw home. An errant throw to third trying to get Katie Feeney, allowed the freshman to come all the way in to push the lead to 3-1.

Creek worked around a leadoff error to retire the heart of the Putnam County order to secure the win.

See led the offense, going 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Creek was 1-4 with an RBI.

Creek picked up the win, allowing one unearned run in 10 innings of work. She allowed just four hits and walked one while striking out six.

19th Annual Ag Day Golf Tournament at Timber Ridge

J & J Ag Equipment Sales is hosting the 19th Annual Ag Day Tournament at Timber Ridge Golf Course on Friday, September 9, 2016.  Sign-in opens at 9:00 a.m. with a 10:00 a.m. shotgun start.

The tournament is an 18 Hole, 4 Person Scramble.  Cost per team is $360 and includes lunch and beverages all day.  Teams are encouraged to sign-up early to reserve a spot and can pre-register by contacting Randy (660-216-7306), Kris (660-341-0465, or the golf course (660-883-5341).

In addition to free food and drink, there will be a silent auction and games.  The Hole in One contest is being sponsored by Pepsi, The Farm Shop and Gas & More.

Timber Ridge Golf Course is located on Hwy 15, south of Memphis.

Area Moving On Program to Meet August 30

The Scotland County Area Moving On Program will hold their monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at the Methodist Church starting at 11:30 a.m.  After lunch, the group will travel to Edina to the Baker Cemetery.

If you have suffered a loss, the Area Moving On group helps provide support through caring confidential visiting and fellowship with others than have lost love ones by sharing support and friendship with each other.  This is a monthly meeting with the time and meeting place decided on by those attending.

For more information or to arrange for a ride, please call Nelda Billups (660-328-6367), Laura Schenk (660-465-7363) or Chris Tinkle, Program Coordinator (660-465-7322.

Local sponsors of the program include The Daisy Patch, US Bank, Rose Hardware, Payne Funeral Chapel, Memphis Funeral Home, Countryside Flowers, Community Bank of Memphis, and Exchange Bank of Northeast Missouri.

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