Revenue from traffic citations fluctuates

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015 10:20pm
  • News

Traffic citation fine collection accounts for a chunk of annual revenue for Kenai Peninsula municipalities — albeit a fluctuating one.

The city of Soldotna approved $55,155 in revenue from traffic fines for their 2015 operating budget, said Soldotna Finance Director Melanie Imholte. The previous year $67,771 had been approved, she said.

In 2013, the Soldotna Police Department issued 1,031 citations, and 1,123 in 2014, Imholte said. The city does not compile this information in a way that will show what infractions the citations were issued for, she said.

While the city issued fewer tickets in 2013, it collected nearly $12,500 more in revenue from citations that year.

The city of Kenai spends nearly $3 million a year operating its police department, said Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank.

“How much did the City ‘make’ from traffic fines for 2013 and 2014 is a pretty easy question to answer,” Eubank said. “The city made nothing.”

In 2014 the Kenai Police Department issued 602 tickets, which resulted in $43,938 in revenue. In 2013, the police department issued 695 tickets that totaled $57,105 in revenue, Eubank said.

Each city has ordinances in their city codes that distinguish the fee schedule revenue that goes to the state and to the city, said Kenai Lieutenant David Ross. Offenses not listed, such as DUIs and seatbelt violations, don’t contribute revenue to the cities, he said.

Both municipalities organize collection data differently, Imholte said.

“Aside from the Permanent Fund Dividend garnishments that the City of Soldotna files for and receives, the Kenai Courthouse collects the majority of the remaining ticket fines we receive each year,” Imholte said. “This differs from the way that the City of Kenai does things.”

Kenai’s legal department functions for the city as the Kenai Courthouse functions for Soldotna, Imholte said.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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