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Bolivar Residents Upset Over City's "Poor" Audit Rating

BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Poor financial planning within the city government has cost taxpayers of Bolivar millions of dollars.
"There was just bad financial planning for several years," Schweich said.
BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Poor financial planning within the city government has cost taxpayers of Bolivar millions of dollars.

Chris Green is among dozens of residents listening to a sobering state audit Tuesday night.

"I thought it was very informative, I thought it was eye opening for a lot of people in bolivar," he said.

The city received a "Poor" rating, the lowest of four possible.

"We identified serious financial problems in the city of Bolivar," State Auditor Thomas Schweich said.

The state auditor's office discovered mismanagement of funds, misuse of restricted funds, poor accounting practices, and that the city didn't properly finance its new aquatic center.

That was supposed to cost about 6 million dollars to build and will end up costing 16 million in the end.

"It's a real shame what's happened to the aquatic center because we love to use it. It breaks my heart," Green said.

The state auditor called it a bleak financial situation.

"There was just bad financial planning for several years," Schweich said.

The Board of Aldermen responded to the audit, saying it is actively making changes and trying to fix the issues.

"I think it will be very interesting to see what happens from now," Green said.

"It's a great city, it's an interesting city, you've got good people," Schweich said, "And now it's time to put some discipline in the process and dig your way out."

The state auditor will come back to Bolivar in 90 days to see if corrections are being made.

He told KOLR-10 he feels the city can come back from this, but it will take time and a lot of re-structuring within the government.
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