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An audit released Thursday by State Auditor Nicole Galloway detailed how much the Missouri Highway Patrol spent last fiscal year from the state's highway fund and whether that spending complied with state law.

The State Highways and Transportation Fund's support of the Highway Patrol is by law limited to the patrol's efforts "to administer and enforce state motor vehicle laws or traffic regulations." Any other activities or functions are to be funded from general revenue or another source.

The law also mandates the state auditor to annually examine whether the appropriations to the Highway Patrol from the highways and transportation fund "are actually being used for administering and enforcing state motor vehicle laws and traffic regulations pursuant to the Constitution."

The Highway Patrol appeared to be in compliance with the legal provisions related to the use of highway funds, according to the completed audit of the 2019 fiscal year that Galloway's office announced Thursday.

The audit did find the patrol had spent approximately $2.79 million from the state highway fund for expenses not related to highway activities — including "non-highway personal service expenditures made from the state highway fund from appropriations for administration, crime laboratories, training academy and fringe benefits; and expense and equipment expenditures from appropriations for administration and fringe benefits.

"However, these expenditures were more than offset by personal service and/or expense and equipment expenditures totaling approximately $6,956,000 from appropriations for crime laboratories, training academy, technical services, gasoline and fringe benefits that were related to highway activities but not paid from the state highway fund. As a result, approximately $4,166,000 more was spent on highway-related activities than was paid from highway funds during fiscal year 2019," according to the audit.

In all, the audit shows the Highway Patrol spent approximately $226.38 million last fiscal year, out of more than $254.2 million in appropriation authority from the state highway fund.

The largest expenses were "fringe benefits personal service," at more than $76.9 million, and "enforcement personal service," at approximately $68.6 million.

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