Clay County could lose over $280,000 in federal funding because of incomplete audit

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- Clay County could lose thousands of dollars in federal funding, more than $280,000 to be a bit more specific.

It's money that helps fund the sheriff's office and other programs, and the deadline for the two grants is Friday.

But the county said it doesn't have everything it needs to apply.

To receive federal funding, an annual audit is required with the application. Clay County said it's been waiting for that audit from accounting firm RSM, which was supposed to be completed by Sept. 30.

The reason why they've been waiting so long doesn't make much sense to those in county government.

"And their position essentially is that they will not complete the audit. They suspended their audit because they think the state audit form Auditor (Nicole) Galloway will impact their audit," Clay County Auditor Victor Hurlbert said.

Clay County is one of several counties, including Jackson County, undergoing an audit by the Missouri auditor.

That didn't prevent their auditing firms from completing their annual reviews. In fact, in a letter to Clay County commissioners, Galloway makes it clear that the county's single audit performed by RSM isn't tied to the performance audit being done by her office.

"You kind of lose professional credibility when you say, 'Well audit standards tell us something, and we can't do it,' you know," Hurlbert said. "But then you have four other firms of equal caliber going forward with it, and you have a state auditor who is highly qualified telling you you can go forward with it."

The loss of federal funding will take away funding for a drug task force, directly affecting the Clay County Sheriff's Department. The agency is currently suing the Clay County Commission for under-funding the department.

"And that damage to our reputation is not insignificant," Commissioner Jerry Nolte said. "You know, Clay County really can't take much more hits to its reputation. No, we're not exactly on the high point of our reputation sure that's for sure."

The incomplete audit is just the latest hit to a county already swimming in drama that the other counties also under audit by the state don't have.

Instead of cooperating with the state, the Clay County Commission is fighting it, which is prolonging the process.

"I disagree with RSM's position, but you know, it's their position, and I can get how you want to protect yourself as a firm," Hurlbert said. "So I think it goes back to why are we fighting the state audit, you know? Because if we didn't fight the state audit, that might be done. The single audit might be done, and we could continue on. So the responsibility for this could follow the commissioners."

FOX4 reached out to RSM to ask them about the holdup and the company replied: "As a matter of policy, we do not comment publicly on any client matters."

This unfinished audit will not only affect drug task force funding but it's also used for other government grants and business. Not having the complete audit could cost Clay County $2 million.

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