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Verndale PD to pursue administrative fines

The Verndale City Council decided it's worth the effort to jump through the hoops created by the 2009 Minnesota Legislature to keep administrative fines in place instead of writing state speeding tickets, which are more costly to offenders.

Verndale Police Chief Jeff Jares raised the issue with the city council at its Aug. 3 meeting, asking members to give him direction on whether to go through the paperwork and red tape to get the city in line to continue the administrative fines program. The Legislature shut down the fines as of Aug. 1, and set forth a series of guidelines that cities need to meet to restart the process.

Aside from filling out paperwork and adhering to new guidelines, the city must wait for the state to issue a new uniform administrative ticket to be used, which likely won't be available until October.

Council members asked Jares his opinion on whether administrative fines are worth pursuing. He said in an economically depressed area, it makes sense to have an option to write a $60 ticket instead of the hefty state fine of at least $138.

"I have a hard time writing someone a $138 ticket for speeding," Jares said. "$138 is more than a lot of people make in a day."

Jares said of the $60 administrative fee, $20 would go to the state, $20 would go to the city's general fund, and $20 would be directed to the city's police department under new state rules.

The administrative fine has more benefits than just a lower price tag for the speeder, Jares said. Administrative fines don't get sent to one's insurance, and don't go on the driving record.

The city voted to pursue administrative fines in the future.