Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and State Auditor Nicole Galloway came to Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon to sign two pieces of legislation that expand the auditor’s authority to audit or review financial statements of community improvement districts and transportation development districts.
In an event at the Union Station boardroom of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Nixon said the legislation responded to citizens who want greater transparency concerning tax dollars collected by special taxing districts.
“When there are public investments, there must be public accountability,” Galloway said.
Community improvement districts, set up with specific boundaries to collect added sales taxes or special assessments from property owners in the district, currently must file citizen petitions to generate a state audit of a district’s finances.
For CIDs that have no residents — such as those created to renovate shopping centers — any audit currently requires a request from the governor. Senate Bill 1002, as signed, allows state audits to be conducted without a petition and could apply to up to 360 such districts in the state.
The governor also signed House Bill 1418, which clarifies requirements for transportation development districts to file annual financial statements with the state auditor. TDDs also are special districts that can impose added sales taxes to finance projects.
The new law requires the auditor’s office to notify the state Department of Revenue if annual development district financial statements aren’t filed on time and levy fines for each day they’re late. According to the state, one-fourth of such districts failed to file statements with the auditor’s office on time in 2014.
The state officials said both laws provide greater oversight of public dollars to ensure that taxes are spent as intended.