Harrisonville, MO given worst possible rating by state auditor - KCTV5 News

Harrisonville, MO given worst possible rating by state auditor

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A metro-area city is taking heat for massive financial mismanagement and given the worst rating possible by the state auditor.

One of the issues in Harrisonville, MO involved development districts like a strip mall, where the sales taxes go back to the developer to pay off the project. 

The audit called the city a prime example of what can go wrong when special taxing districts go unchecked.

It was *residents who petitioned for this audit - and almost 100 of them showed up to see the results - a report on leadership that has already changed hands over the concerns that prompted the petition.

The city secured the debt for a private developer, a decision the auditor called "inexplicable," and when the development didn't bring the needed tax revenue, the city had to dip into its general fund to make up the difference.

"The city overextended itself on development projects and taxing districts and did not appropriately plan," said Nicole Galloway, the Missouri State Auditor. 

Then there's the infrastructure project at this interchange. When extra taxes raised from the transportation district weren't enough to foot the bill, the city dipped into utility funds.

The auditor says there is no way to recoup what residents lost from the overstepping approach of the past regime.

But she'll be checking back to be sure the new leaders are making changes to improve things going forward.

"If we all work together we can find a solution," Harrisonville Mayor Brian Hasek. "I don't know what that is yet but I think we can find a solution."

The auditor found no proof of criminal or fraudulent behavior. She instead described the actions as inappropriate.
Her team will be checking back for a progress report within a year.

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