Sunday, June 28, 2009

Less tickets means less money

Today's paper has an article about the decline in filings by Toledo Police in the Toledo Municipal Court.

According to the article, traffic filings in May were 1,165. That's only 34% of the number filed in the same month last year. Criminal filings were down 34%.

While criminal filings don't generate a huge amount of revenue, traffic citations do. If the traffic filings continue at this pace, the city could see an overall reduction in revenue of a similar percentage and I'm am absolutely certain that the city did not budget for a 66% decrease in traffic revenue.

In fact, the 2009 budget shows about a $200,000 increase in revenue for the Municipal Court in the city fines and court costs categories, which are the line items for traffic citations.

Unintended consequences - but only because council and the administration failed to take them into account.

Most of the younger officers are the ones who were laid off. They're also the ones most likely to be on road patrol and writing tickets. When I was the Clerk of Toledo Municipal Court, I could tell when a new police class took to the streets strictly from the increase in the number of traffic citations. That's what they do.

With the layoffs, the reallocation of staff within the department and the re-prioritization of work, it's no surprise that traffic citations are down. It should have been expected that the corresponding revenue would also decline. But the city planned for an increase in revenue, completely contrary to what they should have done.

So now the city is without 75 officers and the money saved from those layoffs is greatly reduced by the lack of revenue those officers were producing. Additionally, the city will have to find some way to make up the decreased revenue since the current budget was based upon the original numbers. Of course, I don't expect them to do so with more cuts...

The administration and council have not inspired confidence with their budgeting over the last several years. This is just one more example of why the city is in the hole.

4 comments:

2Bn11FA said...

Citations by officers are down? must be the reason that department heads are out "on the streets" ticketing people parked on private property.

Carol said...

It seems as though there is no way that Toledo government is ever going to grasp the reality of it all ... you cannot spend money you don't have. You cannot budget based on 'possible' future monies.

I realize that any budget has a certain percentage of increase built into it as a cushion for anticipated needs/costs, but the idea of spending in advance of earning is ... it's just ignorant and irresponsible. And it's gone on in Toledo for far too long.

What would happen if, per chance, the powers that be were to use the actual figures for available operating dollars and scaled back the size of government to operate within that budget? Safety services come first, then basic utility services. Everything else could be stripped to the bone or removed. Then as the revenue grows (over time) re-establish certain departments on a much, much smaller scale.

Unless there is an extremely aggressive stance taken ... it's scary the path that Toledo is on.

Consider this mess a garden. There are some beutiful flowers and plants ... but there are tons of weeds that keep popping up all over. I know that you would pull those weeds until there were none left. So would I.

Toledo needs to put on its gardening gloves and start weeding ...

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

Maggie,

The law of unintended consequences bites the administration in the butt once again and "duh mayer" still can't seem to bring himself to consider "plan B"?

That just shows to go you how tight our beloved mayor's are fastened.

Straight ahead, steady as she goes, never wavering from the failed tax and spend ways that have created this financial hole that we find ourselves in.

"Duh mayer" has squandered all of our money and all he can think of is how to get more.

Even failed business owners eventually realize and freely admit that their problem was that they were spending more than was coming in..., just like our City Government.

Hopefully the next Mayor will understand how government should work and realistically what our spending priorities need to be. . .

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

I read Dave's comment and only one picture could and did come to mind. Of course it was the Titanic, which plowed ahead at full speed, regardless of the potential hazards ahead. I'm sure that the captain of that fair ship had the same confidence as our current recalled fearless leader.

Hey, come to think of it, wasn't the Titannic the first thing considered "too big to fail".

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