The basis for this post is a page from the State Auditor’s site comparing the 2012 revised budget for the city of Grand Rapids with the 2013 proposed city budget.
The specific page can be seen at…..https://scontent-a-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/1476310_1439967979555592_403096155_n.png
The auditor’s site is…..http://www.osa.state.mn.us/Search/CitySearch.aspx
You will be able to see in the “Fines and Forfeits” line that the 2012 revised budget includes $133,100 in this category.
On the same line, the proposed amount for the 2013 budget is $286,050, a 114.9% increase over the previous year.
This was very disturbing when I saw it. You see, fines and forfeits are revenue sources derived from taking money from people who have failed to comply with laws or ordinances. A penalty for either doing wrong or failing to do right. I can easily understand budgeting a similar amount as was collected in the previous year, if the people drawing up the budget operate under the assumption that roughly the same number of people will violate the law from one year to the next. The problem here is, they have budgeted a 114.9% increase from one year to the next.
Are they saying that the incidence of non-compliance is going to more than double in a year’s time? Highly unlikely, I think, as no one could be omniscient enough to predict that level of increase in what is, essentially, crime, in such a short period of time.
To understand the difference in this number, we need a plausible explanation. All to whom I have spoken about this generally agree on a hypothesis, which is not only plausible, but in my opinion, likely.
According to this hypothesis, the city of Grand Rapids seems to be viewing the citizens, and even our friends and family who come to visit, as not much more than a source of revenue to fund its apparatus and status quo.
Since it is quite reasonable to conclude that a prediction of a doubling of the number of violations is virtually impossible, be must look to other explanations for such a large increase in revenue from this source to be included in the proposed budget.
Has there been a doubling of enforcement activities this year? I have seen no sign of such, and would like anyone who has to contact me and provide me with their accounts of this. At any rate, if this were indeed the case, the city records should reflect this at the end of the year. In the event that this is the cause of the increase to the budget numbers, how could this be seen as anything other than a planned attempt by the city to raise additional revenues?
Have quotas been instituted? I would like to think that the city would not stoop to such a level, as, for example, traffic citation quotas are illegal. See http://statutes.laws.com/minnesota/299A-299N/299D/299D_08 for confirmation of this.
Perhaps the city increased the number of administrative citations. The statute regarding this is Mn statute 169.999, and can be found here: http://statutes.laws.com/minnesota/160-174A/169/169_999
Have any readers received one of these this year? Was it for the mandatory $60, or for some other amount? Were you advised at the time of the citation that you had a right to dispute it before a neutral third party? Again, if you have any information on this subject, please contact me.
We must, at this point, unless and until more information to the contrary is provided in the City’s defense, conclude that the projected increase in the revenue of 114.9% is the City’s attempt, by some means, simply to raise money at the expense of citizens of Grand Rapids, and our friends and families who enter the city limits while visiting us.