Newsletter Issue: November 2018

Download the November 2018 Issue (PDF Version)

Upcoming Meetings

Membership Meeting
11/29/2018 - 6:30 PM
Fenton City Hall

November 29 Meeting at Fenton City Hall

The November meeting will be hosted by the City of Fenton at City Hall located at 625 New Smizer Mill Rd, Fenton, MO 63026; (MAP)  The meeting is being held on the 5th Thursday due to Thanksgiving.

Program:  Jeanie Sanders is an Education and Technology Specialist for General Code which supports more than 3,000 local governments with codification and legal support.

Jeanie leads the customer education initiatives for eCode360 and MapLink.  She focuses on     helping municipal employees understand how to get the most out of their online Code services. Because of her constant interaction with our customers base, Jeanie frequently acts as the “voice of the customer” in product development projects for General Code.

Jeanie will demonstrate the benefits of connecting municipal GIS mapping systems to zoning code systems.  This new technology code can provide answers to the most commonly asked questions of municipal staff: “Where can I open my business?”or “What can I do with my     property?”  The Interactive Zoning Map is a tool that facilitates a full understanding of what is defined in the zoning code without having to comb through the traditionally text heavy  documents.

WalletHub’s Annual Ranking of “Best Small Cities”

Urbanization might be the trend for much of the population, but not  everyone craves the bright lights and crowded spaces of big cities.  Small-city life can be best for those who appreciate more wiggle room, fewer degrees of separation and shorter commutes, to name just a few of its advantages.

No two small cities are made equal, so the personal finance website  WalletHub compared more than 1,200 U.S. cities with populations      between 25,000 and 100,000 based on 40 key indicators of livability. They range from housing costs to school-system quality to restaurants per capita. Congratulations to the City of Ballwin which ranked highest in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area for the second year in a row.           Chesterfield came in second and Wentzville number 3.  Other cities in St. Louis County rounding out the top 10: Kirkwood, Maryland and  Wildwood.  Also listed were: Florissant, Hazelwood and University City.

 

Round 19 Municipal Park Grants

The Municipal Park Grant Commission recently announced the awarding of $7.1 million for park and recreation improvements grants. Below are the 21 municipalities awarded grants in Round 19:

Berkeley                            Hoskins Park                                       $79,830

Berkeley                            Municipal Pool                                   $97,120

Berkeley                            Miller Park                                          $166,886

Bridgeton                          Bridgeway Park                                  $420,000

Chesterfield                      Central Park                                       $223,097

Clayton                              Ice Rink                                               $420,000

Creve Coeur                      Ice Rink                                              $397,600

Dellwood                           Dellwood and Nicolai Parks           $255,404

Des Peres                          Des Peres Park                                  $370,000

Ellisville                             Meadowlark Park                             $389,631

Ferguson                           Forestwood Park                              $439,499

Florissant                          Koch Park Spraypad                        $510,075

Glen Echo                         Glen Echo Park                                 $265,000

Jennings                            Sievers Park                                      $420,000

Maryland Heights            Vago Park                                         $220,000

Pacific                                 Red Cedar Park                               $185,950

Pine Lawn                          Jackson Park                                   $289,175

Rock Hill                            Oakhaven Park                               $315,000

St. Ann                               Tiemeyer Park                                 $420,000

St. John                              Community Garden                       $11,096

University City                  Fogerty Park                                   $525,000

Webster Groves               Memorial Park                                $475,000

Woodson Terrace            John L. Brown Park                       $216,598

Since 2001 and including this round, over 350 municipal grants have been approved    totaling over $70 million. The commission was created in 2000 to award grants to municipalities in St. Louis County after voters approved a 1/10 cent sales tax., which was increased by a 3/16 cent sales tax on 2013.

 

Affiliate Spotlight — Hochschild, Bloom & Company

In many ways, Hochschild, Bloom & Company is a representation of everything that makes America great: the opportunity to build something truly spectacular, using nothing but one’s own enterprise, intelligence, and hard work.

Founded in 1946 by Peter Hochschild, our first location was a tiny 7-foot by 12-foot office in a law firm’s suite, appointed with little more than a used desk, two chairs, and an adding machine. Only 33 at the time, Mr. Hochschild had worked in a department store before moving to St. Louis to work at a large accounting firm. After attending Washington University in St. Louis, he passed his CPA test with flying colors and struck out on his own, founding the company which would become Hochschild, Bloom & Company.

It was from these humble beginnings that our firm has grown into one of the largest accounting firms in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area, still guided today by the principles of hard work and a relentless quest for excellence established by our founder in that small office nearly seventy years ago.

A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE

Today, Hochschild, Bloom & Company embraces this legacy of excellence, hard work, and community involvement. We don’t merely have offices located in the St. Louis region – we’re members of the community, too. We view ourselves as a partner in the success of our area’s private companies, regional governments, and nonprofit organizations.

We strive to live up to the legacy established by our founder those many years ago: a continual pursuit of excellence, a sincere dedication to our clients’ success, and a real involvement in the community.

 

Park Planning Grants Available

The Municipal Park Grant Commission is accepting applications for quarterly planning grants. Applications are available on the Park website: www.muniparkgrants.com. Applications are due by January 25 so that they can be reviewed by the Commissioners at their next meeting in February.

Planning grants can be used for park master plans, master plan updates or for specific park projects. Cities are eligible for up to $6,400 and are required to match at least 20% of the planning cost. Cities can apply for planning grants annually. Having current, updated planning documents, cost analyses and public input increases the chances for receiving park construction grants.

If you have questions about the Planning Grant applications, please contact the Municipal League office.

November Training Program

It’s (Mostly) Good to Be King:

The Applications and Limits of

Sovereign Immunity

Thursday, November 29 – 12 Noon to 1:15

 

Presented by Dave Streubel and Maggie Eveker of Cunningham, Vogel & Rost, P.C. who will discuss sovereign immunity, it’s application and limits, and best practices, among other things.

Click here to register for the webinar.  This will be a webinar only session with no in-person  attendance.

 

Internet Sales Working Group Update

Even though the Supreme Court overturned the 1992 Quill Corp. V. North Dakota case after hearing South Dakota V. Wayfair, it will take legislative action before Missouri can implement the collection of internet sales tax. Not only is this important for local brick and mortar stores by leveling the playing field with out of state sellers, the loss in revenues continues for grow; a recent analysis by the United States Government Accountability Office found Missouri may miss out on between $180 – $275 million annually in state and local sales tax.

The League has been participating in a working group with the MML, County and city representatives from across the state on legislation for next session. The MML has hired Carole Iles as special counsel to help draft legislation. Carole is an attorney with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner specializing in tax law. Ms. Iles also served as General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Revenue from 1998 to 2002.

Missouri’s current statutes related to sales and use tax are extremely complicated and would require multiple changes to apply the Mayfair decision as in South Dakota.  More information will be forthcoming as the legislation is formalized for next session but the working group has determined that cities, counties and other sales taxing districts will need to have a use tax to collect internet sales tax.

 

October Membership Meeting Synopsis

The speaker at the October 25 meeting was retired County Presiding Judge Doug Beach, who now works for the State Supreme Court to help municipal courts implement changes required by the Supreme Court.  He noted that municipal courts have been under the authority of the    Supreme Court since 1974 per rule 37.04 and are to be supervised by the Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court. He noted the important  distinction that courts are a separate branch of government from the municipality it serves. There needs to be independence between judges and prosecutors. Bailiffs will not be allowed to wear police uniforms.

Judge Beach said that a committee had been formed to implement the Supreme Court operating procedures. The Committee has recommended that municipal courts have set hours, with access to a judge. One of the issues that has been raised concerns people who are given traffic tickets without the means to pay. If a judge is not available, the defendant could sit in jail for several days, which is an extreme hardship.

Judge Beach indicated that the state is developing the Show Me Courts case management system for all municipal courts which would significantly reduce costs for cities for case   management. He also indicated that court funds belong to the court until paid to the city. If a city desires to discontinue its court, they can turn over the function to the County associate circuit court.

The membership also unanimously adopted the Legislative Priorities and Policy Statements for 2019 as presented by Bridgeton Mayor Terry Briggs, the Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman.

The priorities are:

  • Failure to Appear
  • Statewide Vote on Local Issues
  • Collection of Internet Sales Tax
  • Missouri Government Expenditure Database
  • High-Speed Internet Overlay District
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

 

See page 7 for more detail on the League’s legislative priorities.

Former Maplewood Mayor Mark Langston reported on his work with the Greater St. Louis Area Association of Scouting to help recruit new scouts and adult leaders, particularly in areas of North County where there are fewer scout packs. Amanda Shaw joined Mr. Langston in a brief presentation how scouting benefits the participants and the community.

Thanks to the City of Florissant for hosting the meeting at the impressive new court facility.

 

Legislative Priorities 2019

Failure to Appear – Senate Bill 5, passed in 2015, prohibits municipal courts from imposing penalties on defendants who fail to appear in court (RSMO 479.360(6)). Restoration of the authority of municipal courts to induce compliance with bench warrants for the failure to appear is essential to an effective municipal court system. The League support legislation to provide a mechanism for enforcement of failure to appear.

Statewide Vote on Local Issues – Legislation has been discussed to place on the statewide ballot a  constitutional amendment to change the government structure of the city-county and municipalities. Residents of other parts of the state do not understand the issues here and have no stake in the outcome. The League supports local autonomy and opposes legislation authorizing statewide votes on local issues    pertaining to individual or limited political subdivisions which would threaten neighborhood stability.

Collection of Internet Sales Tax – The US Supreme Court in South Dakota v. Wayfair ruled that a state may require online sellers to collect state and local sales taxes when the seller does not have a physical   presence in the state.  The League urges the Missouri General Assembly to enact legislation that allows local and state sales/use taxes to be charged on purchases made from out-of-state sellers, even if the seller does not have a physical presence in the state.  Further, the League supports the simplification of the sales/use tax statutes to make it easier for out-of-state businesses to remit state and municipal sales/uses taxes.  Any simplification of the sales/use tax statutes shall hold municipalities harmless from revenue reductions until the Missouri General Assembly requires out-of-state businesses to collect and remit state and local sales/use taxes on purchases sold into the state.

Missouri Government Expenditure Database – Legislation was proposed in 2018 (HB 2442) which would require all municipalities to provide to the State Treasurer’s office on a monthly basis, a list of all expenditures for posting on the Treasurer’s website.  This requirement only applies to municipalities and would not be mandated on any other level of local government. A  voluntary system applying to all governments is available in Ohio and provides valuable information to the public. The League supports efforts to establish a local government expenditure database that applies to all governments with voluntary participation.

High-Speed Internet Overlay District – Several cities across the country have begun the process to install high speed internet services for residents and businesses in an effort to boost economic development.  In   Missouri, Kansas City and Columbia have done so with great success.  A collaborative multi-county overlay district would streamline the approval process, lower construction costs and greatly reduce the time needed to install the system.  The League supports enabling legislation to establish a High-Speed Internet District for the St. Louis region to oversee the installation, system management, collection and distribution of fees for an inclusive high-speed fiber network.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program – Prescription drug monitoring programs are government-run electronic databases used to track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled prescription drugs to patients. They are designed to monitor this information for suspected abuse or diversion, and can give a prescriber or pharmacist critical information regarding a patient’s controlled substance prescription history.  This information can help prescribers and pharmacists identify patients at high-risk who would benefit from early interventions.  Missouri remains the only state in the country without a PDMP. Many Missouri municipalities and counties have enacted their own local PDMP.  However, to be truly effective a statewide program is needed.  The League supports legislation that would create a state-wide prescription drug monitoring program that would provide physicians and pharmacists with access to a patient’s controlled substance prescription history.