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October 23, 2014, 4:18 pm
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The Council Roundup

The Council Roundup, Wednesdays at 10 with Bishop On Air


970 WMAY News

Aldermen Approve Tow Fee Decrease, Mayor May Not Sign

The fine that Springfield charges owners of vehicles towed after being pulled over in suspect of a crime has been cut in half for the first offense ... but it might not take effect.


Originally the fine was $500 for the first time, something critics said is causing people to abandoned their cars. The amended ordinance makes the fine $250 for the first time and $500 for the second and subsequent times.


Mayor Mike Houston says that 85 percent of the vehicles towed when someone was pulled over for DUI, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked between September 2010 and November of 2012. Thirteen vehicles were towed for violating the city's sound ordinance.


Budget Director Bill McCarty says if the ordinance takes effect it will put a nearly quarter million dollar whole in the budget for the police department.


Houston says he may not sign the ordinance.  He says that the $500 fine is meant to be a deterent.


As for an ordinance that would cap the number of non-seasonal employees at 1500, aldermen failed to receive a majority vote as Mayor Mike Houston voted present. If passed, the ordinance would have required city council approval of any hires above and beyond 1500.


Supporters said the ordinance would have kept city hall honest and could ultimately lock in more than a million dollars of savings per year. Opponents said they don't think aldermen should be able to tie the hands of the mayor when it comes to hiring.


Meanwhile, aldermen passed an ordinance that would give an additional $1 million to the funds for fire and police pensions. But, several aldermen expressed concern at passing that amount because of the looming infrastructure needs. Eventually, aldermen passed the additional funds with a vote of 9-1.


On the consent agenda, aldermen approved the budget for Fiscal Year 2014 on the consent agenda. The budget comes in just over three percent over last year at $114.7 million. Aldermen also approved a motion that would take a land owner to court using eminent domain. The city wants to use the land owned by CONTECH to extend 11th Street southward.

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