New traffic fines?|City considers increases
Published 11:25 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2009
By By Kerry Whipple Bean
Brewton City Council members are considering putting more teeth in the city’s traffic ordinance, including steeper fines for violators who park in handicapped spaces and other restricted areas.
Police Chief Monte McGougin said he began to consider raising the fines — and paying more attention to enforcing the ordinance already on the books — when approached by several people who need to use the handicapped spaces.
The proposed revision to the ordinance would set the fine for violating the handicapped parking provision at $75. Other violations would have a fine of $25. Those violations include parking in a fire zone, parking near a fire hydrant, parking in prohibited parking, blocking the sidewalk, parking in a restricted area and blocking traffic.
McGougin said the ordinance revision would also allow the police department to keep fines that are not contested in court.
That money would be put in a special police department fund to be used for equipment upgrades and other projects, McGougin said.
City Councilman Joe Watson requested the council table the proposed traffic ordinance revisions because he is concerned about how the ordinance would be enforced.
McGougin told Watson that police officers would use discretion in their enforcement of traffic laws.
Councilman Fred Barton suggested an amendment that would prohibit officers from giving citations on Sunday mornings, but city attorney Ed Hines said that wouldn’t be possible.
The fine money would only go to the police department if the tickets were not contested.
McGougin said the ordinance is already on the books, but officers rarely enforce the traffic laws.
The council will consider the ordinance at its next meeting Aug. 25.