Supreme Court hears arguments on treasurer’s control of parking

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday in a case that may decide whether the St. Louis city treasurer will keep administering the city’s parking meter fund.

At issue was whether City Treasurer Tishaura Jones will control the fund, and how much the city gets, or whether the city controls it.  There is also debate over whether Jones receives the status allotted to county officials by the Missouri constitution.  

Both the city and the state have different laws regulating different kinds of parking. The city charter establishes a parking commission.

The action began after Charles Lane and James Wilson received and paid parking tickets in the city and sued the city, the state and several city officials challenging the constitutionality of the parking law. Twenty-Second Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd added his name to the suit.

A key issue was whether the state parking statutes violated the state constitution by requiring the chairman of the Board of Aldermen’s Streets, Traffic and Refuse Committee (Boyd), the comptroller and the director of streets to sit on the five-person Parking Commission headed by the treasurer.

The state Constitution prohibits the general assembly from “creating or fixing the powers, duties or compensation of any municipal office or employment . . .” for a charter city.

In a lower court hearing, Circuit Court Judge Michael F. Stelzer declared the state law unconstitutional. Then Jones and the state appealed.

Questions the Supreme Court must consider include whether the state can assign additional duties to a municipal official or whether all of the parking law can be declared unconstitutional or just the part about the extra duties for officials.

It’s uncertain when the Supreme Court will make a decision, a spokeswoman for the court said.

Here is audio from the hearing:

 

Jim Merkel

Author: Jim Merkel

Born and raised in St. Louis, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of four books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis. For more about Jim, visit www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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