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Rules for Missouri Townships

Note

Parenthetical numbers in the text refer to sections of the current Revised Statutes of Missouri, abbreviated as RSMo.

III. The township board

Members and president

The township board has three members and three votes. At the first meeting after election, one of the two board members is designated president, primarily to sign papers in the township's name (65.310). The trustee is not eligible for the position of president. Some townships have the president preside and vote only to decide ties. Where the president votes on all matters, there are no ties, which is probably preferable.

Powers

Boards may buy, hold and sell real estate, including buying at public sale when the assets of anyone with obligations to the township are being liquidated (65.260). The board may make contracts and appear in court on the township's behalf. Going to court is done jointly, with both the township and the county named (65.280).

Duties

Three primary board duties are financial: auditing officers' accounts, auditing bills presented for payment, and setting and levying tax rates for township and road and bridge purposes. Tax rates must be certified to the county by Sept. 1 (137.073, 65.380). There are no requirements for outside audits of the township, but 5 to 25 percent of registered voters (the percentage depends on population), as determined by votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in the township, can bring in the state auditor to conduct an audit at the township's expense (29.230). If it can be afforded, having a periodic outside review of the books will provide assurance that everything is working as it should and will probably save the township money in the long run.

Frequency and location of meetings

Most boards meet monthly. Statutes require that township boards meet at least quarterly (65.300). A regular meeting place needs to be established, along with a regular location for posting meeting notices. Both of these locations must be accessible to the public (see Chapter IX. Meetings, Records and Votes). A township officer who fails to attend two or more consecutive meetings may be removed by a majority vote of the other board members (65.183).

Claims

The township's bills are either brought to a board meeting or given to the clerk to present to the board (65.320). Every claim is supposed to be verified by a sworn statement from the vendor.

The board issues an order to the trustee, which is signed by the president, stating the amount and the payee. The trustee then issues a check. Townships differ on the number of check signatures they require: Some require only one, some several. Whichever style is followed, the document is a warrant that is not negotiable until the trustee signs it. Any purchase of $6,000 or more must be bid (see Section XI. Bids and the Bidding Process).

Missouri products

Statutes require that preference for purchases be given to Missouri products if they are as good as out-of-state products and cost no more (65.400).

 

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