Auditor tells Spencer City Council she cannot finish audit because of bad records

City hall in Spencer, Oklahoma. (KOKH/Steven Anderson)

Leaders of the City of Spencer are trying to determine how to move forward after the auditor they hired to review the 2016-2017 budget, said she cannot complete her work with the records in their current condition.

"What you desperately need is someone who is experience with municipal accounting to come in. They may not be a permanent staff member but at least come in to get things straight," Anne Elfrink said in her presentation to city council Monday night.

She said funds are not being kept separately.

"When we look at it that way, we find that we're about $400,000 off either in too much revenue has been reported, you know, revenue more than what was actually is deposited to the bank or expenses that have been paid greater than what was reported," she said.

"It's worse than we expected," interim city manager Kenneth Sloan told FOX 25 on Tuesday. "We're waiting on the council to decide if we want to just have her render opinion based on the work she's done so far, or if we need to have somebody come back in to not redo the books, but verify the data entry's been done correctly."

Sloan says his recommendation is to hire a certified public accountant with municipal experience. The city council will have to vote on that move.

The auditor said she found another issue.

"Another thing I would like to emphasize, especially emphasize, and possibly you're already very much aware of this, but that you've got a very serious financial situation here," Elfrink said.

She said the city should not spend any money unless its needed "to keep the doors open." She said the city would have to do this for five years to get to a point where it will be in a healthy financial position.

Sloan said the city is not bringing in enough money, and said the city is tightening its belt.

"We're doing the best that we can. It's going to take some time to get the mess cleaned up," he said.

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