Citizen petition leads to pending state audit of Ferrelview's finances

The Missouri Attorney’s General Office will be conducting an audit of the Village of Ferrelview’s finances.

A citizen-led petition collected 80 signatures requesting the government action, and 64 of those submitted were verified to be from registered, resident voters. The Platte County Board of Elections verified the petition, and the state auditor’s office recently sent a notice of verification to Ferrelview resident Theresa Wilson, who started the petition in May of 2016.

According to the notice, the state auditor’s office will determine the scope of the audit, and all concerns may not be audited. The audit will “primarily cover the current period and most recently completed fiscal year.”

The Village of Ferrelview has been notified of the pending audit, but Ferrelview chairman of the board of trustees Steve Carr did not return a message from The Citizen seeking comment. According to Wilson, audit manager Todd Schuler plans to attend an upcoming board of trustees meeting to formally announce the audit and ask for any input from residents on the process.

In July, Carr addressed the potential of an audit and said the village generally did not have a plan on how to pay the cost, estimated to be about $30,000. He also said an outside agency had already been hired to conduct a financial audit for Ferrelview, which last did that in 2009.

No issues were found with financial records in the 2009 outside audit. The results of a state audit could take multiple months, if not more than a year to be released.

Tensions have eased some in Ferrelview, a village of about 450 residents located directly east of KCI Airport in Platte County.

Concerns boiled over last summer when residents first took issue with Ferrelview Police Department chief Daniel Clayton leading to charged board of trustees meetings with citizens expressing discontent. According to statistics The Citizen compiled, Clayton filed nearly three times more tickets than his predecessors each month during the early portion of his first year on the job.

Wilson eventually brought up broader concerns with the board, which has reaffirmed its support for Clayton despite claims of excessive force and harassment. Her concerns with financial processes included a $17 monthly fee for Kansas City water meters installed within the village, even though she alleges that the units were “bought and paid for before they were ever installed,”and a half-cent sales tax increase proposed multiple years ago — that failed via a village-wide vote — but is allegedly being collected by the board.

After requesting the signature forms for the audit petition Sunday, May 22 by phone, Wilson said she received a response the following morning and that the auditor she spoke to saw “numerous red flags” in information Ferrelview annually submits to the state.

At the time, Schuler, a Kansas City, Mo. manager with the state auditor’s office, could not provide specifics regarding Wilson’s audit request due to the confidential nature of the process. Although Wilson has specific questions regarding the financial conduct of the village, her chief issue is a lack of transparency.

“We want answers, and (the board) won’t give them to us,” Wilson said in June. “They feel like they’re the board of trustees, and they don’t have to answer to nobody.”

There are three spots up for grabs on the Ferrelview Board of Trustees in the upcoming April general municipal election.

Carr has filed for re-election for a two-year term, while Theresa Wilson, husband Russell Wilson and Wesley Lowther have also filed for a two-year spot. Frank Baumann did not file for re-election, meaning at least one new board member will be elected.

Residents can vote for two of the four candidates.

There will also be a one-year term up for grabs with Brooks Moseley, recently appointed to the board, running for election to keep his spot. Bart Whorton has filed to run against him.