Rules for Missouri Fourth-Class Cities
Parenthetical numbers in the text refer to sections of the current Revised Statutes of Missouri, abbreviated as RSMo.
Authority and procedures
The county commission must order an election on disincorporation if presented with a petition for disincorporation that contains signatures of half the city's registered voters. A published notice needs to contain petitioners' names and a petition copy, and it needs to be published in the local newspaper for four weeks. The ballot question is simply "Shall the city of __________ be dissolved?" If 60 percent or more of voters vote in favor, the county disincorporates the city (79.490).
If petitioners present signatures of 60 percent of the city's registered voters and the city has fewer than 100 residents by census count, an election is not necessary. The county simply disincorporates the city (79.495).
All contracts that the city has at the time of disincorporation remain in effect. The county appoints a trustee to oversee disincorporation details. The trustee collects money due to the city, pays bills outstanding against the city, sells the city's property and takes care of all other city business. Statutes say the trustee has the power "generally to do all acts requisite to bring to a speedy close all the affairs of the corporation" (79.520).
The trustee may hire an attorney if needed and reports progress to the county commission. That body may award reasonable compensation to the trustee. When finished, the trustee makes final settlement with the commission. All city papers still in hand are turned over to the county clerk.