Jefferson Co. town fights bill to cap revenue from traffic ticke -

Jefferson Co. town fights bill to cap revenue from traffic tickets

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Byrnes Mill officials are trying to fight the passage of a bill that would cap the amount of revenue a city can collect from traffic tickets.

Many people feel Byrnes Mill has a reputation for overly aggressive police who write a lot of tickets. City officials insist those days are behind them. However, the town's percentage of revenue from tickets in 2014 was just below the current state limit. A bill proposed by State Senator Eric Schmitt would cap the percentage of city revenue that can come from traffic tickets at 10 percent.

Byrnes Mill City Attorney Bob Sweeney told News 4 officers are simply enforcing the law. He also said reforming municipal courts by reducing the amount of revenue cities can keep from traffic tickets goes overboard in solving the problem of using police to collect revenue. Sweeney said Schmitt's legislation does not take into consideration the financial impact on small cities such as Byrnes Mill that have little retail or commercial tax revenue.

“The police department would be cut in half, at least,” Sweeney said.

Byrnes Mill collected $118,000 more in revenue than Hillsboro, which is of a similar size. Sweeny said the difference is due to Highway 30.

“The volume of cars that comes through Highway 30 in Byrnes Mill is the highest volume anywhere in Jefferson County except the intersection of Jeffco Boulevard and 141 in Arnold,” Sweeney said.

On its website, Byrnes Mill said it will face of a deficit of $200,000 if Schmitt's bill becomes law. The city is asking residents to urge their state legislators to oppose the legislation. Byrnes Mill officials also claim reducing the ticket revenue cap would lead to more accidents, drunk drivers, and crime.

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