MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 9, 2013

Raising traffic fines necessary


— Muskogee city councilors will soon consider raising fines for traffic violations.

Finance Committee members unanimously approved an ordinance that would increase by $15 the fine for most moving violations.

The increase will help fund the police department’s fleet management program.

The ordinance must first receive approval from the City Council. But the Finance Committee is made up of city councilors.

The new fine rate would go into effect 30 days after publication.

It is expected the $15 increase would generate about $60,000 per year.

The budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30 shows the police department had $150,000 available from the general fund for auto maintenance and $145,000 from its capital outlay fund for its lease-purchase program.

The money is needed because of the high mileage put on patrol cars.

Police Chief Rex Eskridge said the department has 37 patrol cars within the department’s fleet that have logged more than 100,000 miles. Another 10 have been driven more than 75,000.

It appears the additional funds are needed to maintain and purchase new patrol cars.

It’s unfortunate that there are so many drivers who are breaking the law in our city that the city could even conceive of generating additional revenue in this manner.

If increasing the rates would make drivers think twice about speeding or running red lights, we would all be safer on our city streets.