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Opinions aired, questions asked at Sturgeon special meeting

Posted on Friday, September 13, 2019 at 7:07 am

Nothing was solved, but a lot of opinions were voiced during the Sturgeon Board of Aldermen’s, September 4 special meeting.

The audience at the Sturgeon Board of Aldermen's September 4, special meeting had questions.

The audience at the Sturgeon Board of Aldermen’s September 4, special meeting had questions.

The four aldermen, mayor, city clerk, city attorney and assistant city clerk spent a few hours trying to explain to the eight-member crowd what had happened to the Mount Horeb Cemetery’s financial holdings.

“This is the number that she pulled here… our financial auditor pulled out, which is incorrect,… We’re trying to fix all this,” said Marsha Butyenek, assistant city clerk attempting to explain a budget entry.

At one point Butyenek said all five Certificates of Deposit related to Mount Horeb had been combined.

She said the budget numbers were examples, of what they were trying to fix, and said the previous audit, done by Lisa Wright, was in error.

“Where did she get the figures from?” asked Ward II Alderman Janice Butler regarding Wright’s work. “We’re not sure,” Butyenek said.

Sturgeon Mayor Steve Crosswhite said the city would refrain on further corrections or adjustments until after the state of Missouri’s audit of Sturgeon’s city government is complete. He also said the cemetery situation is what prompted the audit.

City attorney Jackie Rodgers said of the five CDs in question, three were for Mount Horeb and two were for the city.

“Where did the city every get $95,000 to buy two CDs?” asked Chris Watson from the audience.

Butyenek said she researched the cemetery’s finances to 1969, where it showed a beginning balance of $736.

“We did not change the name of the name on any CDs,” Butyenek said. May of 2016, Butyenek said later, is when two CDs belonging to the Sturgeon Recreation Center, were renamed as to belong to Mt. Horeb.

Watson wanted to know who had the authority to change the names on city CDs. “I do,” said Donna Tracy city clerk, who said she knew of nobody changing names on city CDs.

“Every audit since 2007, nobody ever questioned it was Mt. Horeb’s money,” asked Mike Jacoby. “What changed?”

Rodgers said the name changes were clerical errors, possibly due to the city’s switching of financial software. “That is what the audit will tell us.” He also suggested the high turnover in office personnel during that time may have been a factor as well.

Speaking from the audience, Jodi Rusch  quoted the Sturgeon Bicentennial book, said the late Mildred Booth left $68,000. Butyenek said the city minutes from then showed the donation at $32,000.

“Where do you show where the city of Sturgeon ever purchased two CDs because I don’t think you ever did,” Watson again asked.

Mayor Crosswhite, Tracy and Alderman Zane Arends said the name changing was done in the city in their records as nicknames for record keeping, not on the actual CDs held by then Boone County Bank.

Butyenek said the city had no record of purchasing two CDs.

“It’s got to be in a record somewhere,” Watson said. “And do you do that type of thing in closed meetings?”

“Litigation, personnel and land purchase, only” replied Crosswhite.

November 26, 2018, Watson said, is when, according the aldermen’s minutes, the CDs were discussed in closed session.

“I’m not concerned about the CDs we have left, I am concerned about the ones we don’t have. There are two CDs that are missing,” Watson

For the complete article see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.