Auditor finds low compliance with new municipal reform law in St. Louis area

Photo courtesy of Nicole Galloway/LinkedIn
Photo courtesy of Nicole Galloway/LinkedIn

Only a third of St. Louis area governments complied with new financial reporting requirement contained in last year’s massive municipal court reform legislation and only half submitted annual financial reports showing breakdown of court revenue, Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway reported Wednesday.

The report covers local governments with fiscal years ending between February and June 2015, whose annual financial reports were due by Dec. 31. Of 391 municipalities required to submit reports, 204 met the deadline and only 120 did so with all of the newly required information.

In September, municipal reform legislation meant to inject accountability into the system put new limits on what local governments can raise in traffic fines and fees. Under the new law, traffic revenue can make up 12.5 percent of a city’s general operating revenue in St. Louis County, and 20 percent elsewhere, down from 30 percent.

In an interview, Galloway said she would have expected better numbers, particularly on the filing requirements that have always been in place. She noted the office also allowed more time than usual for compliance, recognizing the change in requirements.

Municipalities that fail to submit timely or accurate reports have time to come into compliance, but continued failure to comply could result in loss of jurisdiction over their courts.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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