$7,000 missing from county tax rolls in Spafford

— Despite the privacy of an “executive session” being allowed by state law and a safety net for municipalities needing to discuss sensitive issues, the occasional slip happens and the rumor mill runs wild.

Recently the issue of missing tax money in Spafford has been brought to light in such a manner.

The money in question — $6,904.68 — was reported missing from the county tax rolls after the county received the 2012 town taxes.

Though many want to lay blame on now-former tax collector Heidi Adams, whose resignation was approved by the board in October, Supervisor Webb Stevens said there are no missing funds on the part of the tax collector.

“I believe she did the job to her ability,” Stevens said, adding he does not believe there was any malicious intent or misappropriation of funds, rather Adams was overwhelmed by the position. “The way she did the tax collecting was a total incompetent job.”

The town was alerted to the problem in May, and since August town officials have been working with a forensic auditor to figure out where the funds went, Stevens said.

According to the town board, the record of unpaid taxes is inaccurate as those people had proof of payment. Also, with a recent change in tax code that allows partial payments, it’s possible some partial payments were recorded as full payments, Stevens said.

Additionally, there is no checkbook or bank record of an account having been opened for tax collections, and therefore no system of checks and balances in place during Adams’ tenure as an elected official.

“She did not ask for any training,” Stevens said, noting that Adams did not so much as call tax collectors in neighboring communities to ask questions. “She just thought she could handle it.”

No criminal activity has been proven, Stevens said.

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