Rules for Missouri Townships
V. Trustee powers and duties
The trustee's first duty is to give bond in an amount equal to at least half of the highest amount of township funds on deposit at any time during the preceding year. The bond must be made payable to the township board and must be delivered to and be acceptable to the clerk. The bond becomes, during the time it exists, a lien against all real estate the trustee owns. Bonding ensures that the trustee will properly handle the township's funds and must be done before the trustee can perform any official duties.
Title and duties
The trustee position is formally titled trustee ex-officio treasurer. Trustees receive and pay out moneys of the township. The trustee also brings lawsuits in the name of the township when necessary, although hiring an attorney must have board approval and going to court must be done jointly with the county.
When a new Trustee takes office, it is good to have an outside person go over the bank records before the trustee accepts the responsibility.
This does not indicate mistrust of an outgoing trustee. However, once the new trustee accepts responsibility for the bank account, the trustee becomes responsible for everything that has gone before, perhaps for the actions of a number of former trustees. Outside review is a sensible safety mechanism.
The trustee receives all township money, both general revenue and road and bridge funds, from the county collector-treasurer. The trustee must give proper receipts for funds received.
The trustee only pays bills upon receiving an order from the board. Statutes say that the order must be signed by the chairman of the board (65.490), even though the board statute (65.310) calls this person president rather than chairman. The clerk must attest to an order to pay, in effect certifying that the expenditure is proper.
Elimination of the township collector has affected the reporting required of the trustee ex officio treasurer. Section 65.500 RSMo., adopted decades ago, requires various financial reports. Most concern school funds, which no longer pass through township hands.
Also required, however, is a report to the township clerk prior to the April meeting of the township board giving ... a detailed statement of all money by him received and paid out ..." While this requirement is for an annual report, keeping records current each month is recommended. (See sample PDF forms for Treasurer's report and Accounts payable and payroll check register.)