Missouri Park Boards & City Government

Sep 16, 2013 by

One of the greatest resources any city government has is the employees and staff that help operate the community programs. Next in line, the natural resources and recreational spaces available help bring a spirit of peace and sense of community in shared spaces. Missouri law helps guide local communities in working together to create excellent parks and recreational facilities that work to bring the community together, and the local park board can be a bit asset in making that effort a success.

The Missouri Statutes allow for the creation of a park board to manage the city’s parks and money collected as part of the park fund. This park fund is made up of taxes paid in under the city park tax and any donations or gifts made to the Park Board. The Park Board is given exclusive control over the monies in the park fund under Missouri Statute RSMO § 90.550. However, this control does not diminish the oversight of the Board of Aldermen in setting the vision for the city’s parks and recreational programs.

The Board of Aldermen or City Council has some direct control on the actions of the Park Board. Members of the Park Board are appointed by the Mayor, with the council’s consent. Each member serves a three year term, and the statute provides for nine initial members. The Park Board then elects its own president and other officers as they designate through the board’s by-laws. The Park Board must provide a report to the council each year, on or before the first Monday in June, and members may be removed by the Mayor for misconduct or neglect of duty.

The by-laws of any park board may establish various officers and committees that will function under the authority and direction of the board. The most common officers include a President, Vice-President, Secretary & Treasurer. Committees can be formed for a variety of purposes, depending on the specific needs of the local community. Members of the committees are appointed by the President of the Park Board and the committees are to make written reports to the Park Board.

The creation of a park board does not take authority away from the Board of Aldermen, including the authority to buy or sell property that has been designated as a city park. Collins v. Vernon, 512 S.W.2d 470, 476 (Mo. App. 1974). The duties of the park board are considered administrative duties only. Id. The Board of Aldermen retains the power to enact any and all ordinances as necessary for the good government of the city, including those necessary to oversee the operations of the city’s parks and recreation programs. RSMO § 79.110.

Although the Missouri Statutes give control of the monies deposited in the park fund to the Park Board, it is reasonable to assume that the Board of Alderman or City Council retains the authority to direct the actions and expenditures of the Park Board by ordinance or by regulating their proposed budget. As the Park Board is administrative only, it is still left to the Board of Aldermen to make discretionary decisions regarding the future of the city parks & programs. Ideally, the Board of Aldermen and the city Park Board will work together to complement each other and bring out the best in the recreational programs of the local community.

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Missouri Park Boards help facilitate the wonderful parks and recreational programs that are available in many communities, both large and small, throughout the State of Missouri.

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