State Auditor says Missouri owes County Governments
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released an audit of the County Reimbursement Program, which reimburses county governments for certain costs for housing and transporting state prisoners. The program is administered by the Missouri Department of Corrections. The audit found that a combination of delayed reimbursements due to lack of state funding and increasing incarceration costs has resulted in the necessity for counties to rely on local resources. Under state law, counties can be reimbursed for criminal costs, prisoner transportation and extradition costs for state prisoners. Counties submit claims throughout the year for these expenses and the Department of Corrections processes these payments on a first come, first served basis. However, state appropriations have not been sufficient to cover reimbursement claims. As of June 30, 2020, the state owed about $31 million to counties that it did not have the appropriation authority to pay. In fiscal year 2021, the General Assembly approved $52 million for county reimbursements, which includes $9.75 million for unpaid reimbursements. This addresses about a third of the outstanding claims still owed to counties.