Towns in St. Charles Co. fight bill that would cap revenue from - KMOV.com

Towns in St. Charles Co. fight bill that would cap revenue from tickets

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COTTLEVILLE (KMOV.com) -

Officials in several St. Charles County towns are opposing a bill that would cap amount of revenue a city can collect from traffic tickets.

Officials in Cottleville and Weldon Spring said if Missouri Senate Bill 5 became law, it would be devastating to their town's budget. Senate Bill 5 would cap the amount of revenue a town can collect from traffic tickets at 10 percent. The current limit is 30 percent.

Cottleville has an operating budget in the range of $2 million, and it could lose $150,000 per year if it passes. The town's mayor said he understands why people want to do away with what he calls “ticket factory cities,” but also says Cottleville police officers only write an average of just more than one ticket per shift.

“The town is not a ticket factory, we use that money to better our parks and trails, essential city services. If for some reason that bill passes, and I hope it doesn't, we have to either cut back personnel, eliminate essential city services, or raise taxes,” said Cottleville Mayor Jim Hennessey.

Weldon Spring has a population of 5,000 and is mostly made up of neighborhoods and strip malls. The town's budget is around $500,000, it pays $210,000 to St. Charles County for police services. Weldon Spring is trying to urge state lawmakers to reject or modify Senate Bill 5.

Weldon Spring's City Administrator said Senate Bill 5 does not define the term “general revenue.” He said a 10 percent cap could mean a budget cut that could range from 9 percent to 17 percent.

“The problem is that “general revenue” has never been defined by the state legislature, so it's kind of a moving target as far as interpretation,” said Weldon Spring City Administrator Michael Padella.

Some opponents of Senate Bill 5 say the legislation is needed in to rein small municipalities in St. Louis County, but do not believe it should be applied statewide.

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