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Archive for Saturday, December 2, 2006

City looks to raise ticket fines

Speeding, parking violations could cost more

December 2, 2006

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Discount days for Lawrence speeders are about to come to an end.

City commissioners at their Tuesday night meeting will receive a recommendation from city attorneys to increase the fines for speeding tickets and certain types of parking violations to bring them more in line with what is charged in Douglas County District Court.

"It seems like they're more than overdue to be raised," said City Prosecutor Jerry Little, who said it had been about five years since the city increased speeding fines.

If approved Tuesday night, the fine for speeding would increase $8. That would be on top of a recent $10 increase in court costs mandated by the state. So, in total, a standard speeding ticket would cost $18 more than it did just a few months ago.

The main reason given by staff members recommending the change is that the increase would bring the city's speeding fines in line with what the state of Kansas charges in district courts across the state.

Under the new proposal, a standard ticket for going 10 miles above the limit would cost, with court costs, $90 in the city's Municipal Court and in Douglas County District Court.

Currently, for example, drivers on Iowa Street going 10 miles above the speed limit would receive $80 tickets for speeding near 34th and Iowa streets, but $90 tickets for the same offense on the same road after they cross into the county at the Wakarusa River, less than a mile south.





What do others charge?

Here's a look at what three other cities charge for a speeding ticket that is 10 miles per hour above the limit, compared with what Lawrence is proposing to charge: ¢ Lawrence: $38 fine + $52 in court costs = $90 ¢ Manhattan: $30 fine + $78 in court costs = $108 ¢ Olathe: $53 fine + $27 in court costs = $80 ¢ Topeka: $20 fine + $66 in court costs = $86

City staff attorney Scott Miller said he wasn't sure the city was well-served by having a fee system that charged someone less for committing an offense in the city than in the county.

"From a fundamental fairness perspective, we thought making those costs even would be a good thing," Miller said.

Some residents, though, expressed concern Friday that the city ought to have more reason than that to increase fines.

"If they were using the extra money to do something specific to make this an even better community, then I maybe wouldn't mind," said Lawrence resident Jesse Baker.

Others, however, said the proposed fine increases weren't too concerning.

"It would bring in more revenue for the city," said Charles Sherman, who lives in rural Lawrence. "With speeding, you're looking at the possibility of personal injuries, and you have so many people riding bikes around here that it is probably a good idea to try and deter people."

Estimates for how much new revenue the speeding fine increase could generate weren't immediately available. But since 2004 the city generally has issued about 9,000 speeding tickets in a year.

The city is allowed to keep all the fines it collects, with the majority of that money going into the city's general fund. Of the $52 in court costs, $19.50 is sent to the state for law enforcement programs. The remaining $32.50 is kept by the city to help run its Municipal Court.

People who park illegally actually might have more at stake with the changes. City staff members are proposing to increase fines for certain types of parking offenses by $10.

Those offenses primarily would be all types of parking violations other than overparking at a meter, which would not be affected. Fines for violations such as parking too close to a stop sign or parking in a no-parking zone would rise from $30 to $40 under the new ordinance.

The fine for parking in a handicapped parking space would increase from $50 to $100.

Commissioners will meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets. The new fine ordinance is on the city's consent agenda, which is reserved for items that commissioners generally think are routine.

Comments

doc1 8 years ago

plumberscrack:

I agree with what you said. The city is wanting to raise the price of a ticket to be in line with Douglas County. Why the heck are our property taxes so out of line compared to the rest of the state?

redbird 8 years ago

I completely agree with the both of you!!!! And if they are going to get more money at least spend it on decent police officers!!! I have only had to pay one Lawrence ticket and it was ridiculous.Court cost includud judge training cost??? Now in my opinion,if they are real judges they should of had all their training in law school,not in the courts!!!! And the court cost was to me outrageous but then my last ticket was about 20 years ago....

KS 8 years ago

"City staff attorney Scott Miller said he wasn't sure the city was well-served by having a fee system that charged someone less for committing an offense in the city than in the county."

Let's see.....and how do they treat marijuana offenders? I guess somebody is going to have to pay for the new library.

classclown 8 years ago

Posted by KS (anonymous) on December 2, 2006 at 6:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"City staff attorney Scott Miller said he wasn't sure the city was well-served by having a fee system that charged someone less for committing an offense in the city than in the county."

Let's see.....and how do they treat marijuana offenders? I guess somebody is going to have to pay for the new library.

====================================

I was going to bring that up myself. The city pointedly made sure that pot smokers got off easier than anywhere else.

jayhawks71 8 years ago

The city is playing the role of the sheep, yet again. They don't care why the county or state have higher rates or even if it should have a higher rate. If the county DROPPED its fine would the city? I doubt it. Classic empty logic here. It is the "right thing to do" because it fits with their goal of increasing revenue. As the folks who brought up property taxes have evidenced, why not use the same empty logic to lower people's property taxes?

Once again, the actions of government show that these is simply a form of additional taxation on citizens.

jayhawks71 8 years ago

classclown, why shouldn't pot smokers "get off" easier? Never smoked pot in my life, yet I sure know that the two primary socially "legal" drugs are worse for you than pot. Even governments are starting to realize that they spend FAR MORE on enforcement than on the revenue they make from fines. Again, it is all about money money money money.

gccs14r 8 years ago

It's not the fine that gets you, it's the three years of increased insurance costs.

Jamesaust 8 years ago

I don't have a problem with higher rates in general but I must say that raising them to be line with other Kansas cities is about the lamest excuse I've ever heard of.

Such tickets of course need to cover the cost to the City of administering them.

Beyond that, however, there isn't much that fair about any of it. 1. Issuing the ticket is discretionary (that means there are a lot of people who both have been stopped and not had tickets written). 2. Not practical for the busiest locations and time, which is where the greatest quantity of speeding and its attendant risks occurs. 3. Far too random to influence behavior (who hasn't seen cars speeding by the dozen only to see a single one stopped? Its not dissimilar to being hit by lighting.).

Far better would be to return to the scheme used by our fair city recently on western Sixth Street - just lower the speed limit to an absurdly low level and then ticket those who drive a prudently faster speed on the open, empty road. Its easy for the officers, generates large amounts of revenue, and hits clueless out-of-towners more heavily.

nbnozzy 8 years ago

It's simple... Boog wants a raise. He's publically stated that he feels city commisioners deserve more money.

People..............NEVER go more than 30 miles per hour on Mass St between 23rd and 15th. That's where a lot of the speeders get caught. I see it almost everyday.

Ragingbear 8 years ago

So, instead of people from Johnson county not paying a $75 speeding ticket, they will not pay a $90 speeding ticket?

Instead of boosting fines, why don't they just up enforcement of out of towners having all these unpaid tickets? We could build 50 libraries if all of them were paid.

classclown 8 years ago

According to an article printed March 5th, this map shows the places most speeding tickets are issued.

None

Granted some of them may have changed since then.

gccs14r 8 years ago

And make sure that you don't have any anti-Bush bumper stickers on your car. They'll pull you over instead of the speeders who just passed you. Didn't happen to me, but I know someone it did happen to.

don_burgess 8 years ago


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By the way - Does anyone here ever flash their headlights at oncoming traffic to alert divers of a speed trap?

I do this when I spot a officer and I NEVER see anyone else doing it. What's wrong with helping out your fellow drivers?

  • Raising fines will not slow speeders down.

-Why are court costs so expensive in mahattan? Are the judges more qalified there? Do they make their own paper and ink products by hand?

here is info on our city budget http://www.lawrenceks.org/budget2004/2004BudgetInBrief.pdf

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