KANKAKEE — Residents are calling the city about neighbors who have not bought required vehicle stickers, which prompts police to issue citations.
This was according to aldermen during a budget committee meeting this week.
Ald. Tyler Tall, D-5, told his colleagues he feared more people would stop buying the $35 stickers as they see others getting away with it. He suggested mailing tickets to violators rather than having police officers personally issue them.
“When you think about an officer who we pay to give tickets vs. mail, I think mail is cheaper. Let’s cross-reference our list. There are a lot of people who are complaining,” he said. “The longer we drag things out, the more it costs us.”
Ald. Carl Brown, D-7, said he liked the current system, saying there were 100 or 200 tickets issued per month.
“It works better for the police department when someone calls and says there are five or six cars without stickers. When we mail out, we don’t know what people are going to do,” Brown said. “The police department is doing an excellent job once there is a report that there is not a city sticker.”
Tall suggested the city hire a part-time employee to mail the tickets, a position that would more than pay for itself.
The vehicle sticker fee generates about $475,000 annually. Residents who do not have stickers are fined at least $100.
‘AGING OF OUR FLEET’
The city’s vehicle fleet is old, which means mounting repair bills.
As a result, city officials are considering leasing cars as a way to save money.
“Driving the need is the aging of our fleet,” Comptroller Elizabeth Kubal told the budget committee. “Our oldest car is 21 years old. Modern cars are more fuel-efficient. Our code cars are really showing their age.”
The city buys five or six police squad cars every year, but Kubal said she couldn’t recall purchasing cars for other departments in recent times.
Tall said the city could further save money by having a car pool rather than assigning specific vehicles to employees or departments.
Kubal said that would work for some departments such as the city’s community development agency.
She told the board she would compile the vehicle maintenance costs for the entire city government.
PHONES FOR COUNCIL?
Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong proposed the city get cellphones for all 14 council members, which is estimated to cost about $220 per month for the entire package.
Wells-Armstrong noted it was important to get separate phones because messages dealing with city business are subject to the state’s open records act.
Ald. Chris Curtis, R-6, said he wouldn’t carry a second phone.
“I wouldn’t respond (to a second phone) for 12 hours. I don’t have enough pockets as it is,” he said.
No decision has been made.