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University City residents push for state audit

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

University City, MO – A group of University City residents has launched an effort to get a state audit of the budget for their city.

The petition drive will need to gather 2,233 valid signatures to get state auditor Susan Montee to review the city's spending plan. University City would pay the $80,000 cost.

The group has no evidence money was misspent, said spokeswoman Paulette Carr. The state review is the last resort for citizens who have been frustrated in their efforts to get detailed information about a 400-page spending plan.

"It's not clear in there where the expenditures will be made, it's not clear who uses what electricity, who generates what profits. It's almost as if, we need to stick something there so we're going to stick something there," she said.

In addition, group members believe the city may be violating open-government laws. For example, Carr said, the city was nearly six months late in making information about last year's budget available.

"It's not just the numbers. It is accounting practices, but it's also compliance with state law," she said.

City officials said they were responsive to any questions residents had and welcome the audit.

The city's budget for fiscal year 2010 has a slight surplus, said city officials, but that depends on passage of a sales tax increase on the ballot in August.