Daviess County Special Road District #1 at Lake Viking came under scrutiny in March of 2017 when it was discovered how a bid of $55,850 for road improvement blossomed into a $220,177 bill. This was for shoulder and ditch improvements along 165th Street, commonly known as the Altamont entrance road to the lake.
Irregularities about the bidding process, work authorization and board oversight prompted speculation that a breach in legalities may have occurred. No charges have been filed in the aftermath of extended investigations and, at this point, none are expected. But dramatic changes have since occurred for Daviess County Special Road District #1.
Commissioners serving at the time bids were let in 2016 were Jeff Hower, Duane Charles and Jeff Johnson. Since that time when bids were let, there have been eight different commissioners to serve on the 3-seat board.
Currently elected commissioners Ron Spidle, Mark E. Leggett, and Troy Knight have been serving on the board since April 2018.
A review of the records by the current commissioners showed that previously there was no formal schedule for external audits/reviews of commission proceedings or actions. Records do show that audits were performed in 1999, 2000, and 2010. It appears that past recommendations regarding operational procedures were ignored and not implemented.
In contrast to previous ways, the following actions have been taken by the new special road district commissioners:
- Feb. 6, 2017 — Commission engaged the legal firm of Griffin, Dietrich & Elliott to guide decisions on how to best protect the interest of the taxpaying citizens in the district going forward.
- Dec. 18, 2017 — Commission representative met with officials from the State Highway Department, Daviess County Sherriff’s office and the Daviess County Prosecuting Attorney to review the findings and recommendations of their investigations. From that meeting, the commission: 1) adopted a consistent meeting schedule to manage the affairs of the district, and 2) agreed to establish a short and long term plan for the roads that will be communicated to the public upon completion of the process.
- Feb. 22 through April 23, 2018 — A preliminary review by the Missouri State Auditor’s office was secured which outlined a recommended course of action.
- Aug. 28, 2018 — Commissioners agreed to hire Westbrook Accounting to conduct an administrative agreed upon procedures process review. This is to examine and review all practices by the road district and make recommendations accordingly. This also includes a detail audit review of all the records as it related to the 165th Street Project.
- Oct. 12, 2018 — Commission representative met with State Sen. Dan Hegeman to discuss irregularities involving the 165th Street Project.
- Oct. 25, 2018 — Commission met with representative from the office of the Missouri State Auditor to seek advice in regards to the 160th Street Project.
- Nov. 7, 2018 — Westbrook Accounting conducts onsite audit procedure.
“We have learned a lot over the past year and understand the importance of being transparent to the taxpayers in this road district,” says Commissioner Mark E. Leggett.
“It is my opinion that we have taken the various steps to restore integrity required to be an elected official and we have implemented safeguards that will prevent situations like the ones we inherited. In addition we have sought professional advice and have been acting accordingly to insure that a resolution for the 165th Street Project is secured.”