Funds short, cities use local citations to raise more money
ST. CLOUD -- Looking for ways to increase revenue, several cash-strapped Minnesota cities plan to start writing administrative citations for minor traffic and ordinance violations.
Revenue from these citations, which act like parking tickets, goes exclusively to the city. That means the county and the state don't get a cut as they do with state citations. The administrative citations also don't go on official driving records, and the fine is sometimes lower.
New Brighton recently started issuing administrative citations for underage drinking, illegal dumping, noisy parties and speeding up to 10 mph over the limit. City officials expect to bring in an extra $10,000 a year that way; the city lost $581,000 in local government aid this year.
Several cities already issue their own tickets and fines for certain violations. Woodbury imposes city fines to enforce watering bans. White Bear Lake issues local speeding tickets. Mounds View and Fergus Falls use them for minor traffic violations.
The money-making potential for cities is pushing the change -- and causing a stir felt among state agencies and local law-enforcement officials. Some are undecided whether the switch undermines tickets' role as a penalty, and underlines their role as a revenue source.
The philosophical questions don't matter to those ticketed because the benefits are noticeable, said Douglas Dudek, who recently got an administrative ticket from Kimball police officers and a regular one in another city.
"At least this one won't make me pay more for my insurance," he said. "It's just as effective. You still have to pay a fine."