News 4 Investigates: Where does parking meter money go in St. Louis City?

So, where does the money generated from meters go? (Credit: KMOV)

A newly-filed lawsuit says the whole system created for parking revenue collection in the city of St. Louis should be scratched.

Jim Wilson, who is a plaintiff on the lawsuit, is retired now, but knows a lot about the law. Practicing and teaching his whole life, he was the top lawyer for the city of St. Louis for more than a decade.

“This is a concern to me as a taxpayer,” he said.

Wilson, though, decided to take up a new legal fight, not as a lawyer, but as a plaintiff.

In a suit filed Tuesday, Wilson essentially wants to see the entire parking system in the city tossed out.

Right now, parking is controlled by the Parking Commission, and the City Treasurer, currently Tishaura Jones.

Jones is running for mayor, but Wilson says this isn't about politics.

“I have not taken any position on the mayor's race. I hope to vote,” he said.

Instead, to put a complex legal argument simply, he says the laws that give the Treasurer all the parking powers are unconstitutional.

He’s concerned about the way parking fines and fees were raised in 2015. He questions the Treasurer's recent creation of a college saving program for kids that uses parking funds.

Instead, he wants to see more money put elsewhere.

“Right now public safety, I equate synonymously with more police officers on the street,” said Wilson.

He wants parking to be controlled by the city's Streets Department instead.

In fact, that was an idea Jones campaigned on, but decided the move would hurt the city financially.

A spokesperson with Jones’ office said they hadn't seen the lawsuit and so they couldn't comment.

The City Comptroller said the same thing.

The City Counselor’s Office says they have seen it and attorneys are in the process of reviewing the various allegations and legal theories, some of which, they say, are unique and will take time to sort out.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

News 4 Investigates

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