JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri State Auditor said his office found accounting weaknesses in the tow division of the City of St. Louis Streets Department, earning the department a ” fair’ in an audit published today. The “fair” rating is the second lowest rating given by the auditor.
The office of Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway found that the towing division’s accounting controls and procedures needed significant improvement.
Although this audit is part of an ongoing audit by the St. Louis City Government, the City Comptroller’s Office also released a critical audit in March 2021.
In the state audit, the report says there were discrepancies in an initial two-month review of records and expanded their review. The report says auditors found incorrectly recorded receipts for 96 vehicles sold at auction and 49 vehicles towed. The report also says Towing Division staff were unaware of the discrepancies until auditors pointed them out.
Galloway’s office says that inadequate record keeping and poor reconciliation procedures increase the risk that the loss, theft or misappropriation of money has gone undetected and that accounting records contain errors. Ministry staff indicated that new procedures had been implemented to address the issues.
The report also says discrepancies were found in a review of scrap metal sales by the Waste Division. An invoice shows that the weight recorded at the buyer’s scale was 2,000 pounds less than the weight recorded at a transfer station.
The audit recommended that division staff reconcile weight calculations for scrap sales and investigate discrepancies.
The March 2021 audit by the St. Louis Comptroller’s Office found that 8 vehicles considered eligible for auction were not auctioned. The report revealed an expected revenue loss of approximately $5,198. There was also an additional $2,118 in projected lost revenue for crashed vehicles that skipped the auction. The report found the division did not have clear criteria for disqualifying crashed vehicles from the auction and there was insufficient information on why the cars did not go to auction .
The report also found that the division did not keep accurate records of the number of shredding vehicles recovered by contractors or a process in place to determine how much contractors owed each quarter.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that three aldermen visited the city’s tow lot in October to begin a review of its operations.
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