City, county opt for administrative citations instead of tickets

[replacer_a] Wadena Pioneer Journal
Published Thursday, August 28, 2008

The city of Wadena is looking to add speeding and other petty traffic violations to its administrative citations list.Ordinance violations, such as a barking dog, exhibition driving or parking violations are already on the list of administrative citations.
Before the city began using administrative citations for other petty ordinance violations, officers had the option of a verbal warning with little, if any, consequence or a traditional court citation with heavy fines.

Wadena County implemented administrative citations at a recent county board meeting.Administrative citations generate a revenue for the city. In 2007, administrative fines added $2,030 in revenue for the city of Wadena. In 2008, through July 31, $890 was collected from administrative fines.
Police Chief Bruce Uselman said the citations have been a good option for officers and those who receive the tickets.
The council hopes that by adding petty traffic violations, such as speeding, more money can be collected for the city and people aren’t given such a hefty court fine.
“You have given people a good, strong slap on the wrist financially without it impacting their driving record,” said Mayor Wayne Wolden.
The average court citation is more than $100 after surcharges and court fees are added to the citation fine. Also, the citation goes on a person’s record and a driving offense could raise insurance premiums, he said.
With standard ticketing, a portion of the ticket goes to county and state government. With administrative ticketing, all money goes to the city.
The officers can check a person’s driving record in the squad cars now. If a person is a repeat offender and was issued an administrative citation or warning before, then the person will probably receive a traditional citation, Uselman said.
The city council wanted City Attorney Jeff Pederson to write an amendment to include petty traffic violations to the list of administrative citations. The traffic violations won’t be included as administrative citations until the amendment is approved by the council at a future meeting.
Budget proposals were also submitted to the city council for the public works, planning and zoning, fire department, and the library. The Wadena City Council has scheduled a meeting for 6 p.m. on Sept. 4 to look at the proposals in depth and look at areas that can be cut.

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