Want a Copy of a Municipal Budget? It’s Not as Easy as You Might Think

Missouri Sunshine Coalition Encounters Hurdles In Requests to Eight Greene County Municipalities

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Is there anything more basic than a citizen asking government about the expenditure of taxpayer money?

In an audit of eight Greene County municipalities, however, the Missouri Sunshine Coalition found that it was not always easy to obtain a copy of the local budget.

Officials in Battlefield, Ash Grove and Walnut Grove, for instance, asked a caller why they were seeking the information.

Officials in Battlefield, Walnut Grove and Stafford required requesters to fill out a form before obtaining the budget, even though Missouri’s open-records act does not require written requests.
The Missouri Sunshine Coalition is a newly formed group dedicated to open government and freedom of information.

In addition to media representatives, the coalition includes members from the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Transparency is good for government,” Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said at the coalition’s March kick-off, held in the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Please join us for our upcoming informational meeting in Springfield.

The event will include more detail about the open-records audit and provide information about what similar coalitions are doing around the country.

Refreshments will be served.

Details about the event are:

WHAT: Informational/membership-drive meeting of the Missouri Sunshine Coalition

WHEN: June 25

WHERE: Reed Auditorium, Trustee Science Center on the Drury University campus. The science center is located at the corner Drury Lane and Chestnut Expressway.
(A campus map is available at www.drury.edu/map/drurymap_bw.pdf)

TIME: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.