SYCAMORE – Police want the City Council’s blessing to create a new system to make paying and contesting certain tickets quicker and easier.
Police Chief Glenn Theriault gave a presentation Monday to the council, outlining why he believes the city’s parking enforcement practices are inconsistent and out-of-date. He also suggested streamlining certain ordinance hearings through the police department to simplify the process for residents and free up space in the circuit court.
The proposal will likely go before the council again April 18 or May 2, Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy said.
An administrative adjudication system would allow offenders to resolve citations before an administrative hearing officer – an attorney with special training to act as a judge in civil matters. Offenders also would be allowed to contest parking citations through the mail, rather than in court.
“It formalizes the process for all citizens,” Theriault said.
Sycamore police would like to change the city’s parking meters to consistently be in operation between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, excluding federal holidays.
“If you drive down those streets, you’ll find that there are multiple ordinances that cover the same thing. Some will say ‘no parking on school days from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.’ There’s another section of ordinances that says ‘no parking from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.’ There’s another one from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Theriault said. “As you start to look at it holistically, across the entire ordinance, it really doesn’t make sense.”
He added that implementing a $500 administrative tow fee would shift the cost of enforcement for criminal traffic violations from taxpayers to the offenders, and would keep a larger portion of fine money within the community, he said.
“I do firmly believe that an administrative tow system does hit people where it hurts and it gets them to realize you cannot use a car illegally,” Theriault said.
But 2nd Ward Alderman Chuck Stowe expressed concern that charging a $500 fee would rob drivers of due process.
“It just goes against my grain, that we should be charging someone for something they haven’t been convicted of,” Stowe said. “ . . . What we’re talking about just does not seem right to me. I personally don’t feel that’s really fair.”