SCS/HB 1541 - This act modifies provisions relating to finances of political subdivisions.
COMPENSATION FOR COUNTY CORONERS (Sections 50.327, 58.095, & 58.200)
This act provides that the salary of a coroner in a noncharter county shall be set as a base schedule as provided by law subject to an increase up to $14,000 upon the majority approval of the salary commission.
These provisions are identical to provisions in SCS/HB 1606 (2022) and SCS/SB 1128 (2022) and similar to HB 2438 (2022).
Additionally, under current law, when the office of the sheriff is vacant, the county coroner is authorized to perform all the duties of the sheriff, until another sheriff is appointed.
This act provides that if the coroner becomes acting sheriff and the sheriff is no longer receiving the sheriff's salary, the coroner shall be paid, in addition to the coroner's salary, the difference between the salaries of the sheriff and coroner so that the coroner receives the equivalent of the sheriff's salary while serving as acting sheriff.
These provisions are identical to provisions in SCS/HB 1606 (2022), SB 1085 (2022), and HB 2175 (2022).
BASE SALARY SCHEDULES FOR THIRD CLASS COUNTIES (Section 50.327)
This act provides that the salary commission of any third class county may amend the base salary schedules as provided by law for the computation of salaries for county officials to include assessed valuation factors in excess of $300 million dollars; provided that the percentage of any adjustments shall be equal for all county officials in that county.
These provisions are identical to provisions in SCS/HB 1606 (2022) and SB 704 (2022).
PUBLISHING OF COUNTY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (Sections 50.815 & 50.820)
This act changes the date counties shall prepare and publish their financial statements from the first Monday in March to June 30th of each year. Additionally, the county treasurer shall not pay the county commission until notice is received from the state auditor that the county's financial statement has been published in a newspaper after the first day of July.
This act also requires second, third, and fourth class counties to produce and publish a county annual financial statement in the same manner as counties of the first classification. The financial statement shall include the name, office, and current gross annual salary of each elected or appointed county official.
The county clerk or other county officer preparing the financial statement shall provide an electronic copy of the data used to create the financial statement without charge to the newspaper requesting the data.
Finally, the newspaper publishing the financial statement shall charge and receive no more than its regular local classified advertising rate as published 30 days before the publication of the financial statement.
These provisions are identical to provisions in SS/SCS/SB 724 (2022), SCS/HB 1606 (2022), SB 845 (2022), and SB 1191 (2022) and substantially similar to HB 381 (2021).
LAGERS (Section 70.631)
Currently, political subdivisions located in third class counties and Cape Girardeau County may, by majority vote of the governing body, elect to cover certain employee classes as public safety personnel members in the Local Government Employees' Retirement System (LAGERS). This act removes this restriction and allows any political subdivision to cover such employee classes.
This act is identical to SB 655 (2022) and HB 1298 (2021).
COUNTY FINANCIAL STATEMENT PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO FILE (Section 105.145)
Under current law, any transportation development district having gross revenues of less than $5,000 in a fiscal year for which an annual financial statement was not timely filed to the State Auditor is not subject to a fine.
This act provides that any political subdivision that has gross revenues of less than $5,000 or that has not levied or collected sales or use taxes in the fiscal year for which the annual financial statement was not timely filed shall not be subject to a fine.
Additionally, if failure to timely submit the annual financial statement is the result of fraud or other illegal conduct by an employee or officer of the political subdivision, the political subdivision shall not be subject to a fine if the statement is filed within 30 days of discovery of the fraud or illegal conduct.
If the political subdivision has an outstanding balance for fines at the time it files its first annual financial statement after August 28, 2022, the Director of Revenue shall make a one-time downward adjustment to such outstanding balance in an amount that reduces the outstanding balance by no less than 90%. If the Director of Revenue determines a fine is uncollectable, the Director shall have the authority to make a one-time downward adjustment to any outstanding penalty.
This act provides that if a political subdivision with outstanding fines or penalties fails to file a financial statement after August 28, 2022 and before January 31, 2023 or fails to file any financial statement after January 31, 2023, the Director of Revenue shall initiate the process to disincorporate the political subdivision.
Additionally, a resident of a political subdivision may file an affidavit with the Director of Revenue with information regarding the political subdivision's failure to report. The Director of Revenue shall evaluate the allegation and, if true, notify the political subdivision it has 30 days to comply with the reporting requirements of this act. If the political subdivision fails to comply within the 30 days, the Director of Revenue shall initiate the process to disincorporate a political subdivision as provided in the act.
The question of whether a political subdivision may be subject to disincorporation shall be submitted to the voters of the political subdivision as provided in the act. Upon the affirmative vote of a majority of voters in the political subdivision, the Director of Revenue shall file an action to disincorporate the political subdivision in the circuit court with jurisdiction over the political subdivision. The circuit court shall enforce such orders and carry out remedies as provided in the act.
The Attorney General shall have the authority to file an action in a court of competent jurisdiction against any political subdivision that fails to comply with this act.
These provisions are substantially similar to provisions in SS/SCS/SB 724 (2022) and HCS/HB 2220 (2022) and similar to HB 441 (2021), HB 826 (2021), and to provisions in SCS/SB 527 (2021).
SPECIAL ROAD DISTRICTS (Section 233.095)
Current law specifies that the boards of commissioners of certain special road districts may spend not more than 1/4 of the revenue paid into their treasuries for the purpose of maintaining roads within the limits of a city. This act removes the limit of 1/4.
These provisions are identical to SB 1121 (2022).
SALARIES OF COUNTY PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS (Section 473.742)
Currently, if a public administrator of a second, third, or fourth class county or of the City of St. Louis elects to be placed on salary, the salary is determined by a schedule based on the average number of open letters in the two years preceding the term in which the salary is elected. This act provides that every public administrator who begins his or her term on or after January 1, 2023, shall be deemed to have elected to receive such salary. This act also provides that a letter of guardianship and a letter of conservatorship shall be counted as separate letters. Additionally, it shall be two letters if the public administrator is appointed by the court as both a guardian and a conservator to the same ward or protectee.
Furthermore, this act provides that upon majority approval by the salary commission, a public administrator may be paid according to the assessed valuation schedule set forth in the act. If the salary commission elects to pay a public administrator according to the assessed valuation schedule, the salary commission shall not elect to change at any future time to pay the public administrator according to the average number of open letters in lieu of paying them according to the assessed valuation schedule.
These provisions are identical to provisions in SCS/HB 1606 (2022) and SB 1088 (2022) and substantially similar to HB 2450 (2022) and HB 2450 (2021) and is similar to SB 803 (2020).
MARY GRACE PRINGLE