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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 04/25/12
Civil infractions bureau
to begin in June or July
Many Romeo violations will become infractions instead of misdemeanors
by CHRIS GRAYViolaters of issues like alarms, grass cutting, snow removal and open burning will now see their fines funnel into Romeo's coffers.
Observer Staff Writer
With two unanimous votes on April 16, the Village Board of Trustees approved of changing local misdemeanors into civil infractions.
The Romeo Police Department plans to begin the civil infractions bureau in June or July.
Misdemeanors carry consequences like jail time, but civil infractions will usually result in a fine. Unlike misdemeanors, though, 100 percent of the money generated by those fines will go into the village coffers.
Greg Paduch, chief of police, said he expects a couple thousand dollars more to be generated by parking citations under the new changes.
"It's hard to estimate how much we'll actually get," Paduch said on April 19. "That money goes into the general fund."
Village Attorney Mark Clark said the new changes will take a while to set in since it's a new way of handling crimes, but was in favor of the Village Board making the amendments.
"I think it's a good idea, I recommend it to you and I think it'll go smoothly," he said. "It'll just be something different for the department and for the officers."
As recommended by Paduch, the first offense will mean $50, while a second offense will cost $100. Three or more offenses of the same crime will result in a fine of $250. All fines are in addition to any costs and other sanctions allowed by law or ordinance.
"The fines are less than what you pay for when in court," Paduch said. "It's easier for the general public to handle this directly at the police department."
The violations must occur within a year of each other to be considered a repeat offense.
The chapters of the Code of Ordinances that will become civil infractions include the following: Animals, buildings and building regulations, cemetery, emergency services, environment, fire prevention and protection, parks and recreation, solid waste and traffic and vehicles.
In terms of parking violations, fines are $15, but handicap space violators will be hit with a $100 citation.
To make the changes, the board voted unanimously to implement the municipal civil infractions ordinance.
Any crimes not identified by the ordinance change will remain misdemeanors.
You can read the ordinance on Page 6-B and 7-B of this week's edition of The Romeo Observer.