Senate Bill 572 is a continuation of the Missouri Senate’s attempt to regulate the municipal court system throughout the state. This new bill adds zoning and nuisance ordinance violations to the calculation of minor traffic violations. The annual percentage of operating revenue that a municipality can receive from these types of fines and court costs has been lowered from 30% to 20%. Furthermore, the fines would be lowered from $300 to $200.
The Village of Four Seasons has gone on record opposing this new bill. Village Attorney, Todd Miller, told legislators, “We reasonably anticipate that the passage of the bill will be far reaching and will cause the closure of many other municipal courts in Missouri in that ours is likely an exemplary model of how courts should be run.”
The Missouri Municipal League also opposes the bill. The MML says the bill:
- Lessens a city’s ability to rehabilitate neighborhoods and protect property values for citizens
- Removes the use of graduated fines for repeat offenders.
- Has little effect on the most egregious violators who will be unmoved by a $200 fine. This greatly impedes a city’s ability to hold nuisance violators responsible.
- All cities — large and small – work with nuisance and derelict properties. After a maximum $200 fine is issued, violators have no incentive to remove rubbish, trash, tall grass, noxious weeds, derelict cars, flammable materials, and unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.
The Village of Four Seasons argues if this bill passes, it will be required to send all tickets and violations to the Camden County Associate Court. The Associate Court, according to Miller, already has heavy dockets and he feels this measure will cost more in time and money than allowing the tickets to remain in the jurisdiction of the Village.