City will soon issue civil citations

Posted May 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

City Council

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

Police Chief Britt Smith discussed the civil citation compendium (synopsis) with the Monticello City Council during their regular meeting on May 20.

City Administrator Doug Herman and Smith have been working on the citation collection for some time now. This compendium sets out the various citation amounts for violating a city ordinance that is pursued by the city as a civil penalty as opposed to a traffic fine.

Herman said the civil citations generally go along with the state code, minus the court fees and bond costs.

“We can establish fine amounts locally that mirror the state code,” explained Smith.

For example, if you were speeding within city limits, traveling 1 to 5 mph over the designated speed limit, the cost of the civil citation would be $20, plus a $20 administration fee. Smith said the fines would increase based on the speeding brackets (1 to 5, 6 to 10, 11 to 15, etc.).

“This could generate more revenue for the Department,” noted Smith, though he said that is not the basis for the civil citations. “It’s a softer, gentler approach in getting our point across versus a uniform citation.”

Smith said officers would also have a pre-planned message to reiterate to those being issued a civil citation, outlining the program and fees associated.

“The officers are not just going to go out and start writing tickets,” noted Herman. “This merely replaces citations that are already written in our normal course of things.”

Herman said all of the fines would be able to stay within the city versus other tickets that are issued.

“We don’t want our police department to get a negative image,” noted Councilmember Tom Yeoman.

The Council approved the resolution concerning the civil citation compendium. The first reading of the ordinance will be on the Council agenda at their next meeting, Monday, June 3.

In other city business:

The Council discussed issues with pet licenses, which are dispensed by the police department. Chief Britt Smith said only 37 pets within the city limits are licensed, which is merely 10 percent of the population of pets. He commented that those licensing their pets are not even the owners the city has problems with.

Smith asked the Council to consider whether pet licenses are needed and whether late fees for not licensing a pet are even needed. The Council will look into options on this issue at their next meeting.

With Councilmember Chris Lux absent from the May 20 meeting, it was voted on and approved to table a resolution concerning fiscal year 2013 non-bargaining wages for city employees, not including the library director. Lux expressed interest in wanting to be included in the discussion.

The vote passed 3-2, with Councilmembers Bill Meyer and Dave Goedken opposing. The item will be on the agenda at the next meeting.

Meyer expressed an issue he had with Councilmembers missing meetings, an obligation they have, he said.

Herman said the Council did not have to pass the non-bargaining wage agreement within a certain timeframe.