WED., JAN 2, 2008 - 11:05 PM
Lampert Smith: Blue Mounds targets speeders
By SUSAN LAMPERT SMITH Wisconsin State Journal
Welcome to Dane County. That 'll be $109.
In the interest of fairness, I thought I 'd let readers in on a local secret on the county 's western edge.
I 'm talking about the Blue Mounds speed trap on Highway 18-151, not far from where the four-lane highway crosses from Iowa County into Dane County.
You probably don 't know you 're in the village there, since there are open fields all around, but the village annexed land south of the highway for an industrial park a few years ago. So now the village cops like to sit on Highway F, tucked in next to the Dairyfood USA cheese plant.
I had no idea how successful this tactic has been until the Mount Horeb Mail newspaper recently started printing the monthly tickets issued by the Blue Mounds police.
Fifty-three tickets were given out in November, every single one of them at the corner of highways 18-151 and F.
Nearly all of them were given to people from out of the area, who probably had no idea the rural four-lane road was passing through the village limits.
In November, village cops ticketed speeders from as far away as Chicago, Houston and Dubuque, Iowa. There are only three or four locals on the list, people from Mount Horeb and Barneveld who apparently didn 't get the memo.
And 53 is nothing, said officer-in-charge Dennis Jenks. In some months, there have been more than 100 tickets at that spot.
Blue Mounds has now made it -- along with Rosendale and other notorious speed traps -- onto the national Web site, www.speedtrap.org.
And that doesn 't bother village President Terry Baumeister a bit.
"They say it 's a speed trap, but so what? " he said. "We 're slowing people down. I 'm on the Fire Department and I know what accidents look like. "
Part of the revenue goes to the village, the rest is shared with the county and state.
If it makes the speeders feel better, the village actually charges a little less than the state for the same speeds. In the village, it will cost you $109 for up to 16 mph over the limit; fines shoot up to $424 at 35 mph over the limit.
And don 't speed by and laugh while someone else is getting a ticket. The fine for not moving over to the left lane while an emergency vehicle is on the highway is $172.
Every little bit helps in a village of 750 people.
"It 's a good income boost, " Baumeister said, "and it 's kind of nice because they hardly ever arrest anyone local. "
And don 't think they never issue the big fines. Jenks said he 's clocked speeders going 104 miles per hour; another village officer once clocked someone going 117.
"My goal is to finish my career in Blue Mounds and not have a fatality at that intersection, " Jenks said.
Can 't argue with that.
The only suggestion I 'd make is that the village capitalize on it further. In Rosendale, a gas station sells souvenir hats and T-shirts that read: "Rosendale: Just the Ticket. "
Blue Mounds ought to come up with its own souvenir wear.
How about, "Slow down for Blue Mounds? "
Or "Blue Mounds: Our boys in blue will make you blue, too? "
Contact Susan Lampert Smith at email@example.com or 608-252-6121.