Evanston seeks to double minimum fines


Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to vote on a measure that would double the minimum fine for many ordinance violations.

The proposed increase, from $10 to $20, would cover all violations that don't have a specific fine included in the city code.

The general fine increase is expected to generate about $7,000 in new revenue for the city. Other fine increases approved earlier this year are expected to bring in about $52,000 in new revenue — mostly from doubling the minimum penalty for property maintenance violations from $75 to $150 for a first offense.

Information provided aldermen about the proposed fine increase includes lists of many of the offenses handled in the city's administrative adjudication hearing process —  those with specified fines and the 10 most common offenses to which the general fine rules apply. Here's a chart summarazing that data:

First on the list are property maintenance violations, followed by all offenses to which the general fine applies that aren't otherwise enumerated.

That's followed by 10 violations for which the general fine level applies — including curfew violations, rubbish violations and failure of bicyclists to ride on the right side of the road.

At the bottom of the chart are three infrequent violations that have their own fine provisions — trespass, criminal damage to city property and gambling.


Update 4/25/12 9:40 a.m.:

The aldermen approved the increase in minimum fines Monday night without debate at the full City Council meeting.

At the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting, Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, asked for a report on how frequently such cases are dismissed by city hearing officers. City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz promised to provide a report about that to the aldermen for their June 18 meeting.

The proposal adopted Monday increases fines but doesn't create any new offenses under the city code.

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