The city of Richmond may undergo a citizen-driven audit, if signatures of registered voters are verified on a petition that circulated in Richmond this month.
The petition, requesting a full-scale audit of the city of Richmond by State Auditor Susan Montee’s office, was hand-delivered last Tuesday to Jefferson City. The petition contained 498 signatures of registered voters in the city limits of Richmond. The petition is required by state law to have 15 percent of the number of Richmond voters in the 2004 gubernatorial race or 351 voters before it is validated. The Ray County Clerk’s office received the petition late last week and County Clerk Lynn Rogers is in the process of verifying signatures, according to Laurie Nolker of the county clerk’s office.
Twenty Richmond residents, including former Richmond Mayor Ed Lee Swafford, circulated the petition from Sept. 11 to 22. According to Swafford, the petition was triggered by the prospect of increases to city water and sewer rates. Other concerns from petitioners is transferring money designated for water and sewer into the city’s general fund, procedures in obtaining landscaping bids for the new City Hall, the development of the city’s SAFER grant, and the legality of the impeachment of City Councilman Chris Keen.
State Auditor Chief-of Staff Joe Martin said an audit would entail an examination of the city’s accounting practices, checks and balances, proper procedures for handling and accounting of money, and compliances of policies, ordinances and state statues.
“Once the signatures are verified that are required by law, then we will look at an audit plan and schedule it,” Martin said. He added that an audit for the size of Richmond would take three to five months to complete.