The state audit results have been revealed and the city of Harrisonville received the lowest rating possible of “poor.” The findings in the report range from lack of documented procedures/policies to mismanagement/misuse of public funds. You can find the link to the audit report on the city’s website and video of the presentation on my or the city’s Facebook page.
This poor rating is the result of years of poor decision-making by the former administration. The auditor was clear on that. The findings in this audit are a very serious matter. During our discovery meeting, the auditors were clear that the board was not properly informed and pushed into making decisions by the former mayor and city administrator. There was a lack of written legal opinions from our former city attorney for many of these poor decisions. In the coming weeks, I’m sure you will read stories by some current and former aldermen attempting to downplay the seriousness of this report and even defend the actions of the prior administration.
Alderman Judy Bowman is leading this effort and has even posted a Facebook post claiming this audit report was not as bad as it sounds. Nothing could be further from the truth. They have been using your restricted utility funds like a slush fund, raising your rates to help fund failed projects like the Towncenter TIF. This TIF is costing you more than $250,000 a year and costing the taxpayers millions when the TIF finally expires.
I am not entirely surprised by Bowman’s actions as she tried to convince me to talk Virgil Butler into dropping the petition to get the audit and she had the former city attorney research a law that allows citizens to rescind their signature on a petition that has already been submitted and accepted. She, along others, have tried to convince you that the $70,000 price tag on this audit was too much to pay. I find that ironic since Bowman and several others have voted or supported spending $100,000 on a road study for a road we obviously cannot afford or spending funds (from utilities) to tear down the old water/power building north of the square.
I believe that finding out the truth is priceless. We now know where we need to focus our efforts to improve your government. We could continue to dwell on this poor rating, but I see an opportunity for us to right the wrongs of the past. We have a great town and the sooner we move on from the past and all work together, the better off we will be.
I am proud to be your mayor and believe that the best days of Harrisonville are still ahead of us.
Brian Hasek is the mayor of Harrisonville.