Costs added to some citations in the city of Lansing could be going up soon, the city’s police chief said last week.
Police Chief Steve Wayman last week proposed the Lansing City Council authorize an increase in court costs in order to allow his department to build the fund from which he draws to purchase replacement equipment.
Currently, court costs are either $35 or $75, depending on the offense for which the citation was issued. Wayman said adding $5 to both of those costs could allow him to create an equipment reserve fund the often pricey replacement of computer and other equipment.
“What we’re wanting to do is set up a fund so that we can take some pressure off the budgeting process,” Wayman said.
Wayman said he estimated that increasing the court fees on applicable tickets will generate between $15,000 and $20,000 each year. Wayman said replacement of “big-ticket” items like vehicles, computer systems, armor, video systems or radar or laser speed detecting units could all come out of the equipment reserve fund.
Wayman said adopting a reserve fund would allow the department to replace those items continually without worrying about the impact on the budget and could afford other city departments room for long-term needs. And the average property owner might never even know the difference.
“Unless you commit an infraction, you’ll never see it, you’ll never know about it,” he said.
Councilman Billy Blackwell asked about how the department decided on the amount. Wayman said although communities like Tonganoxie add as much as $10 to their court costs that rolls into a reserve fund, he wanted to avoid a “cumbersome” or burdensome costs. City Administrator Mike Smith said Wayman and himself talked to the municipal judge to ensure the city was in line with surrounding communities.
Mayor Ken Bernard said the cost would not double along with other fees when those ticketed fail to pay their fine before a certain deadline.
Councilwoman Andi Pawlowski said she wanted to make sure that the fund wouldn’t be raided by the city to fund other areas in the city budget. Smith said the equipment reserve would be dedicated to the police department.
“It doesn’t go away,” he said.