Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the Village of Ferrelview municipal court, which is part of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Platte County. The audit was initiated after citizens used the petition process to request an audit of the village, which is ongoing.
“Residents of Ferrelview deserve accountability and transparency in all aspects of their government," Auditor Galloway said. “Even though the municipal court is no longer in operation, village officials have a responsibility to take corrective action to ensure the law is followed.”
In 2017, the village Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the municipal division. Village officials expressed concerns about excess revenues from traffic tickets owed to the Missouri Department of Revenue. Ongoing court operations ceased on Aug. 1, 2017, and the municipal division is currently in the process of dissolution.
State law requires villages to calculate the percentage of their general operating revenue received from fines, bond forfeitures and court costs for municipal ordinance violations and minor traffic violations. If that percentage is more than 20 percent, the excess revenue must be submitted to the Department of Revenue.
The audit found that the village failed to maintain adequate support for the calculations it used to determine how much money it owed to the department. The calculation for 2016 showed the percentage of general operating revenue from those court collections was 43 percent, resulting in approximately $30,000 due to the department. Village officials said the amounts used in the calculations may not be accurate.
The village has not remitted excess revenues for 2016. In addition, no calculation was made for 2013 to 2015 to determine if excess revenues were owed to the state for those years.
Auditor Galloway's report recommends that village officials recalculate excess revenues for 2016 and pay that amount to the DOR. The report also recommends that, where appropriate, calculations for past years should be prepared and any excess revenues sent to the state.
Even though the municipal court is no longer collecting fines and court costs nor receiving bond monies, there were still balances in bank accounts set up for those functions. The audit recommends that village officials review the balances and liabilities of those bank accounts for appropriate disposition. Also, court and village personnel did not adequately segregate tasks, perform reviews and approvals, or properly track tickets issued.
The petition audit of the Village of Ferrelview is still underway. The complete audit of the village municipal court can be found here.