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Lanesboro Council considers Administrative Citation Ordinance


Fri, Jul 25th, 2003
Posted in Features

At their July 21st meeting, the Lanesboro City Council discussed the proposed administrative citation ordinance. Posing the philosophical question, "Is the purpose to increase public safety or to bring in more dollars?" Councilman Joe O’Connor presented his concerns about the open-ended wording used in the ordinance. O’Connor stressed he wanted assurance that a state or city ordinance or statute backed each citation.

Police Chief Stuart Stotts, giving the background of the need for the administrative ordinance, said that he thought there was a fine schedule in existence in Lanesboro when he started there so he ordered ticket books rather than using the inappropriate warning tickets of the past. After he received the tickets, he found there was no fine schedule set up. In the past, police officers used their discretion in determining the amount of fine. Stotts urged the council to pass an administrative ordinance in an effort to maintain consistency in dealing with offenses. Stotts commented, "I think it’s a good initiative. Citizens of the community need to be able to pick up a piece of paper and see that it’s consistent. Part-time officers need to know what the ordinances are." Stotts went on to assure the council, "I’d reject any ticket that came in without an ordinance or statute cited."

Under the administrative citation, fines would be paid to the city and stay in the city’s coffers. Currently, a large share of fines such as speeding tickets is sent away to the state with little remaining in the city. While a speeding ticket costs the violator $110 now, under the proposed administrative citation it would cost $65. In this circumstance, the speeder would pay less, and the city would receive more with the state losing out on a share of the revenue. A person who chose to argue his innocence would still have the option of receiving a regular ticket rather than the administrative citation.

A revised ordinance with fine schedule will be presented at the next council meeting for consideration.

Other Business

In other business, the council heard that the spray park project was feasible and will proceed with construction beginning as early as mid-September and completion set for next spring. Councilwoman Peggy Hanson expressed her concern that the council, as the ultimate owners, needed to be beneficiaries of the contract with the engineers for the spray park to prevent finger-pointing in case of future problems.

Chief Stotts reported to the council that he had been working on additional police coverage for Buffalo Bill Days. After he mentioned his concern about Lanesboro’s lower pay schedule than some other departments, the council raised the rate for licensed officers to $13/hour (up from last year’s $10.61). Stotts also pointed out that if a licensed officer has applied for a part-time position with the Lanesboro department, but his checks are not all completed, he could still be hired for one event (Buffalo Bill Days) and then the regular hiring process could be continued later.

In final business of the evening, the council:

• decided to postpone paying a repair bill on the recently purchased city sweeper until they checked with the supplier on the warranty;

• approved the firemen’s relief pension;

• granted a liquor license to the Turkey Federation for August 16th;

• approved the addition of Kevin Scott, Jerod Wagner, Ken Graner, and Ardie Johnson to the fire department.

The council meeting was then closed to discuss the settlement status of the cheese factory and personnel issues.

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