Youngstown council uses speeding citations money for expenditures


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

With the general fund facing a $2.5 million to $3 million deficit this year, city council voted to use $129,000 from its civil speeding citations revenue instead of the general fund to pay for police expenditures.

Council voted Wednesday to spend the $129,000 for operating supplies at the police garage and for the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence program from speeding citation funds. In the past, that money has come from the general fund.

Council voted 5-1 in favor of the change with Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, opposed to it because he wanted more discussion before making a decision. Councilman T.J. Rodgers, D-2nd, was absent from the meeting.

Before the vote, Police Chief Robin Lees asked that council discuss the proposal further at a future meeting. His request was rejected.

City officials have talked the past few months about using the speeding citations money for some purchases normally made with general fund money because of the expected shortfall.

The speeding citations fund brings in about $700,000 to $800,000 annually and is used to purchase police vehicles and equipment.

Under the program, police officers use the speed cameras to issue civil citations rather than stop speeders to issue moving violations with a fine and points on their driving records.

Speeders face civil penalties of $100 for driving up to 12 mph over the speed limit, $125 for 14 to 19 mph over the limit, and $150 for those driving at least 20 mph over the limit.

Also Wednesday, council agreed to increase the amount of money being spent to convert the city hall annex into the municipal court building – which also will house the city’s health department – from $9,575,000 to $9,875,000.

There were a number of changes to the project that increased the cost, said Kyle Miasek, the city’s interim finance director.

The project is expected to be finished next month, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works.

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