Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tickets = Revenue

Discussion in 'Legal' started by lysander, Jul 31, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. lysander

    lysander Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    585
    I am actually shocked that public officials are willing to go on the record regarding what we all know to be true. Tax collection.....


    Tickets make the city money....

    Coopertown sees revenue increase in new fiscal year
    By Nicole Young
    Staff Writer


    The city of Coopertown’s 2005-06 budget will see almost a million dollar increase in revenue from last year due to community development and increased ticketing by police officers.

    According to city documents, the majority of the new revenue is being brought in by the addition of seven major developments in need of building permits. Existing developments in Coopertown planning expansion during the next fiscal year are Windmere, Winland, Oak Point, Bella Vista, and Autumn Hills.

    Two new housing developments, Crab Tree Acres and Hunter Green, are also being planned, officials said.

    However, a large portion of the revenue will come from the Coopertown Police Department, said Mayor Danny Crosby.

    Records on display in Coopertown City Hall show that it had cost the city approximately $448,979 between the years of 1998 to 2004 to fund the police department.

    For example, during the fiscal year 2003-04, the police department had appropriated funds of $125,123, which were entirely spent, but revenue in the form of court fines only totaled $17,689 leaving a total of $107,434 as a burden for the taxpayers.

    “In response, Coopertown lowered speed limits and began enforcing them creating a big jump in revenue,” said Crosby.

    “A big jump happens with good management. We are trying to get the citizens of Coopertown to feel safer on our roads and have a police force that not only creates money for the city, but adds safety to the roadways.

    “The big jump” Crosby said, was started this past January.

    According to city records, court fines brought in by Coopertown police during July 1 through Dec. 31, 2004 only totaled $10,172.25. The funds appropriated for the department were $155,880.

    From Jan. 1 to June 30, 2005 court fine revenue jumped to $152,324 bringing the total police department revenue for the fiscal year 2004-05 to $162,496.

    “Our police department will no longer cost the citizens of Coopertown. It will be self-sufficient from now on,” said Crosby.

    “I’ve seen court dockets in the past that prove only two tickets were given in Coopertown during one month’s time,” said Coopertown City Recorder Kacie Reynolds.

    “I mean Coopertown is called a speed trap now, but I would rather know our police department is out there working rather than just giving out two tickets a month.

    “I start to wonder what else they’re doing if they aren’t staying busy,” Reynolds said.
     
  2. 308win

    308win Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,918
    Location:
    Ohio - The Heart of it All
    Maybe they should try real police work, who knows they might actually see a drop in the crime rate and unsolved crimes. :cuss:
     
  3. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    2,564
    Location:
    NE PA
    Wow, what an idiot.

    1) Towns can't rely on citations to balance their budget

    2) PD's are not supposed to be "self sufficient", thats the cost of running a town.

    3) More citations means more court pay (overtime) which means they will loose even more money.
     
  4. TallPine

    TallPine Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    7,734
    Location:
    somewhere in the middle of Montana
    I don't suppose that it ever occurred to them to lay off a few cops, since they were apparently just hanging around without anything to do... :rolleyes: And if that wasn't the case, then now they are neglecting more important issues.

    How about a "volunteer police department" ....?

    It works for us for the fire department. A citizen volunteer can as easily be paged out to a burglary or other disruption as to a fire. It is certainly not any more time critical. It would sure be a hell of a lot faster for someone in my neighborhood to turn out, than for a deputy to take 30-40 minutes to drive out from town (even assuming he/she was free to dispatch at that instant anyway).
     
  5. allmons

    allmons Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    115
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Increased Revenue

    We all knew that speeding tickets were a regressive tax, but it seems strange that the 'powers that be' actually admitted to it.

    There is even proof in the article that speeding tickets have nothing to do with safety - reread the line "...lowered the speed limits...". They INTENTIONALLY lowered speed limits TO MAKE MORE REVENUE.

    :banghead:
     
  6. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,487
    Location:
    somewhere on Puget Sound
    While I don't believe that ticket fines should be a primary source of revenue for any city (as the effect of depending on ticket revenue then adversely shifts a city's law enforcement's focus), and I'm not gonna touch the subject of speed limits on highways, I can't let the statement that
    go by ... For certain, in residential areas, construction zones and school zones, speed limits have everything to do with safety, and fines for violating the speed limits are a good deterrent.
    "Regressive tax?" The definition of a regressive tax I'm familiar with is:
    A tax that takes a larger percentage of income from low-income groups than from high-income groups. You're equating fines for speeding, which apply only to those who willfully violate laws, with a form of taxation? Would you rather fund your local police department with across the board increases in local income, sales or property taxes?
     
  7. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,438
    Location:
    Spring Hill, Florida
    Actually I got a speeding ticket last month for going under the speed limit. I'm fighting it in court but the cops out here have a habit of pulling over dozens of cars at at time and handing out tickets for made up amounts over the limit. They claim to have an airplane judging people's speed, but he is pretty far from accurate.

    It is a regressive tax beause people like me are smart enough to fight the cases while poor people have neither the time nor the education to understand that it is possible.

    The speed limits here are set about 20-30 mph below what a normal person would consider safe. Here you can drive the posted limit in a storm with 40 mph winds and driving rain or while towing something huge. The speed limit basically means "safe under the most extreme conditions." The point is to make it easy for people to go above the speed limit so you can give them lots of tickets.

    If you took away the revenue from tickets the police departments would have to be paid for through other taxes which would involve a greater struggle. And they would thus become smaller unless there was a really urgent need for more police. The current situation is why Clearwater has more police than every county except New York. The need for funding is artificially raised because departments get so large on ticket revenue. Whenever any armed government group becomes financially self-sufficient, that should be cause for alarm, not celebration.
     
  8. dfaugh

    dfaugh Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,994
    Sounds like my town....

    Only instead of speeding tickets they have about 100 "code enforcement" officers driving around all day, enforcing about a million ridiculous different types of code violations (most neighboring towns have 3-5 code enforcement people)....And they keep adding new things that are "illegal"...

    For example, it used to be illegal to have an unlicensed vehicle on your property, unless it was behind the front edge of the house (I ran afoul of this once, as we routinely drive "winter cars" up here, save the good ones for better weather!). NOW, Its illegal to have a unlicensed vehicle ANYWHERE on the property (I have 10 acres), except inside a structure. Got a ticket last year because I had my son's old car parked by the road with a for sale sign on it!
     
  9. TallPine

    TallPine Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    7,734
    Location:
    somewhere in the middle of Montana
    I'm not against speed limits per se, at least in towns and on secondary roads.

    But take the road I live on (near) for instance: the posted limit is 35mph but there are many places where 20-25mph is about the top safe speed because of curves and hills. There are also a few stretches where 45mph would be "reasonable and prudent" (providing you watch out for cows).

    I liked it back when MT had no stated speed limit on most hiways. I actually drove slower back then because I didn't have to keep up with some arbitrary limit so as not to hold up traffic. I could drive 55 because you could always pass me doing 90 if you wanted and nobody cared.
     
  10. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,438
    Location:
    Spring Hill, Florida
    This is what is known as "common sense." But unfortunately far less lucrative for the government.
     
  11. Waitone

    Waitone Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,406
    Location:
    The Land of Broccoli and Fingernails
    Wait until the city gets THE PITCH from companies selling speed cameras. Radar activated cameras that snap your a picture of your car and send you a bill in the mail.
    --No court
    --No appeal
    --No insurance impact
    --No points
    --Won't pay your bill? The city says bad things about you to credit agencies. That's it.

    Charlotte has the proceeds from speeding cameras (AKA scameras) going to the city/county education empire. Get a load of that. You break the law and the schools benefit :scrutiny:

    Great system. No humans, just paper and radar transactions. Why the city doesn't need to lay out any money. The company hawking the scameras will accept payment as a percentage of the take.

    The only thing I don't get is the scameras are only on certain streets. So if you speed on street A with a scamera you get a nasty report to your credit company. Speed on street B and you get court, fine, insurance, and points. Just off hand I see a problem with equal protection under the law, but what do I know. :fire:
     
  12. Crosshair

    Crosshair Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,985
    Location:
    Grand Forks, North Dakota
    dfaugh

    Sounds like that would not stand up in court. Too bad we can't take the time to fight this crap all the time. Good thing I am lucky enough not to drive a junker (Poor persons car) So the police don't bug me so much. Sad fact is that the police pull over junkers more cause they are less likely to be able to fight it in court.
     
  13. allmons

    allmons Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    115
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Safety Last

    Not to quibble, sirs and madams, but if people were truly interested in students' safety, they wouldn't build the dang schools next to major State roads and highways! It is ALWAYS about revenue enhancement with governments.

    When the Supreme Court ruled that Law Enforcement ( ie, city, state and federal municipalities ) could seize money and propoerty of "offenders", this country became a banana republic in many ways. The police can seize your money and property and YOU have to fight to get it back. You have to go to court to prove you did nothing wrong.

    Can't say as I can find that in the Constutution, but the Supremes found it somehow.

    Lastly, if speed is dangerous, then why do so many police cars break the limit every day with little ill effect? If it's bad for citizens, then let's start ticketing law enforcement officials who speed without lights and sirens, because they are citizens also!

    :banghead:
     
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    42,972
    Location:
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    Not always, but most of the time, speed limits in Texas are set by traffic engineers. Folks with technical knowledge as to safe speed limits. Generally, in cities, most of their time is spent in settings to coordinate traffic lights for smoothest flow. Overall, a good system.

    It's seriously off-putting to see a quote like, “In response, Coopertown lowered speed limits and began enforcing them creating a big jump in revenue,” said Crosby. That expresses contempt for the whole idea of traffic safety.

    For the majority of all people, involvements with LEOs are about some traffic violation, usually fairly minor. Misuse of speed limits in this manner thus breeds contempt for traffic laws, which in turn tends to breed contempt for all law...

    Art
     
  15. 308win

    308win Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,918
    Location:
    Ohio - The Heart of it All
    Communities tend to get the government they deserve. If the good people of Coopertown were to fill the hall at the next council meeting and express their concern things might change and the Police Chief might get a better picture of his priorities.
     
  16. TallPine

    TallPine Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    7,734
    Location:
    somewhere in the middle of Montana
    Not necessarily ....

    Before we moved out into the county, the local city council was holding a public meeting regarding a "proposed" new dog control ordinance (max 2 dogs per residence/exhorbitant license fees/prohibition on dogs mating in town). After more than an hour of heated protest, one of the councilmen (also a HS teacher) informed us that the council had already made their decision and the public hearing was just a formality to meet some legal requirement.

    I was just stunned speechless .... :banghead:


    A few months later, we moved out into the hills. If we had stayed, I had determined to run for city council at the next available opportunity and hopefully become an abominable pest to the local nazis. But that little one-holer town isn't worth the effort :barf:
     
  17. pax

    pax Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    9,762
    Location:
    Washington state
    The real problem with relying on tickets for city revenue is that you have to either keep lowering the speed limit, or keep coming up with new "offenses," as drivers change their behavior to avoid tickets.

    Betcha two-three years from now, Cooperstown PD will have a problem generating revenue again.

    pax
     
  18. longrifleman

    longrifleman Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    western Missouri
    That has been my experience with "public meetings" for about 30 yrs. Govt by the people is a joke being perpetrated to keep (most) of us complacent so we don't rise up and exercise the second ammendment for it's real purpose.


    Pax is completely right, any govt that stupid will waste the money they do generate and when the law of unintended consequences hits them in the keister they will almost certainly look for ways to squeeze more money from the peasants. There is no way they will look in the mirror for the problem.
     
  19. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    24,041
    Location:
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    The difference between government and organized crime is... Uh... Well, ah... I forget.
     
  20. Ezekiel

    Ezekiel Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Messages:
    677
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Typically, the word you're searching for is "organization", with the government lagging far behind. :banghead:
     
  21. 308win

    308win Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,918
    Location:
    Ohio - The Heart of it All
    If they don't pay taxes on their ill-gotten gains organized crime is sent to jail, the government isn't.
     
  22. mountainclmbr

    mountainclmbr Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2003
    Messages:
    1,289
    Location:
    On top of a mountain in Colorado
    In San Diego the city got caught shortening the time for yellow lights to catch more people with the cameras they set up to ticket people running red lights.

    In Boulder, CO (after the San Diego story) I noticed they shortened the yellow light times. After a while the cameras went up. Pretty smart socialists here in Boulder, ey?
     
  23. HankB

    HankB Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Messages:
    5,211
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Over the years, I've had discussions with a few people who were "traffic engineers." I was most unimpressed with them . . . and I've been most unimpressed with the handiwork of "traffic engineers" in and around the Austin area.

    As far as safe speed limits are concerned, one of the times I was called for jury duty, a guy was fighting a traffic ticket for speeding. When being questioned during the voir dire portion of the proceedings, I remarked that I felt the speed limit on a particular section of road was unreasonably low, and was set that way simply for "revenue enhancement."

    The prosecutor asked me if I was aware that under Texas law, the official speed limit was required to be considered reasonable.

    I almost laughed out loud . . . "Counselor" said I, "Passing a law that says something has to be regarded as reasonable is probably the best evidence possible that we're dealing with something entirely UN-reasonable!"

    He excused me right then and there, and even though there were more cases on the docket, the judge told me I was free to leave. I guess they didn't want me contaminating the jury pool further.
     
  24. SMMAssociates

    SMMAssociates Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    950
    Location:
    Youngstown, OH
    I don't have much of a problem with speed cameras as long as the speed measurement is averaged over a short distance and set at least 10mph above the posted limit. Instantaneous speeds sometimes get above the limit as we "settle in" while accellerating from a light, for example, and both the radar or lidar units and our speedometers have tolerances, too.

    There are just very few valid reasons to be going more than 10 mph over the limit.

    Lowering the speed limit as a revenue generator is despicable, though....

    I, however, object strongly to "red light" cameras. It's too easy to fudge the yellow light time (as in San Diego), but more importantly, the camera just doesn't know about circumstances that might easily clear you.

    I was an Auxiliary Officer around here for some time, way back when, and did more than one ride-along. One night I got detailed to ride with a senior Sergeant. We came up to a traffic light, with one car in front of us, and sat there to wait for the light to change. A friend of the Sergeant's came through the intersection, and he chirped the horn at the guy. Driver in front of us looked in his rear view mirror and saw the black & white with two BIG uniforms in the front seat, and promptly shot through the light....

    (Bill looked at me: "What did I just do?" Fortunately, nobody got hurt.)

    I've had to get out of the way in a similar manner more than once, too. The idea that there's no on-scene appeal, and nobody to put on the stand, just frosts me.

    We do have an epidemic of idiots shooting through red lights like they weren't there, but they tend not to have licenses anyway, and don't pay their tickets.

    What I would support is very simple today, but probably would be a logistics headache. Run a "tape" for about 30 seconds before and after the "violation" and submit that with the citation, from two or more angles. If there's anything going on that would exonerate the violator, it should be there.

    OH is considering a state-wide ban on these things. I hope that passes, but our legislature thinks like the folks who lowered those speed limits....

    (Locally, my Township is lowering speed limits on most secondary roads from 35MPH to 25MPH. They're placing signs when they have the money.... The result is a patchwork of 35 & 25 streets that confuse the daylights out of everybody. The good news is that most traffic enforcement is limited to the more major roads. Even the Officers aren't sure....)
     
  25. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    6,986
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    A couple of years ago, Milwaukee farmed their parking ticket writing out to an outside agency in order that more tickets could be written and the city could make more money in that area. Bogus parking tickets are the norm as traffic court is held midday weekdays where most people find it inconceivable to take off a workday to fight a $15-20 ticket.
    Add to that, the city has repeatedly used the same towing companies regardless of lower bids from other contractors, there have been reports of kickbacks from the towing companies the city uses.

    And city officials wonder why people get the impression that the city government is corrupt at all levels. :mad:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page