Audit: More Than $9,000 Mishandled in Iowa Community

BUFFALO, Iowa (AP) — More than $9,000 was mishandled by officials in the small eastern Iowa city of Buffalo, according to a new state audit released Wednesday.

State Auditor David Vaudt's report shows officials gave more than $5,000 in improper disbursements between September 2008 and September 2010. That includes payments to the former assistant city clerk and city council members. Additional disbursements and charges were made with the city's credit card.

The report said some of the mishandling stems from the clerk, Kimberly Kauffman, who was paid for vacation days she had not yet earned. She also incorrectly recorded her federal income tax in the city's accounting records. In total, she was improperly paid about $1,800. The errors cost Kauffman her job in September 2010.

Another chunk of improper disbursements came from city council members being paid above a set rate for attending meetings. The city's accounting system included $25 per meeting instead of $15 per meeting. The overpayments totaled more than $1,300. The report said city council members had previously expressed concern about the overpayments.

The report also said some improper charges were incurred on the city's credit card, which employees are allowed to check out. While most vendors listed were normal, it's unclear if some charges were personal or for the city's operations. There was a lack of documentation for more than $4,200 spent.

In all, Vaudt said it was impossible to determine if more money was improperly disbursed or collected because of inadequate records. That includes whether money collected by the city for utility billings was properly recorded and deposited to the city's accounts.

The report has several recommendations for the city, including better procedures for reimbursements and that paychecks are more thoroughly reviewed.

Buffalo is located in Scott County and has a population of about 1,200 people.
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