Buffalo Grove studying possible fee increases

Posted8/3/2013 12:41 PM

Buffalo Grove is looking at increasing some of the village's fees and fines.

Over the summer, the village surveyed 15 nearby communities, including Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Wheeling and Elk Grove Village, to determine how the village compares.

Among the fees that were discussed by the village board at last week's committee of the whole meeting were false alarm fees, which are intended to encourage property owners to test, maintain and fix their alarm systems to prevent unnecessary emergency calls.

Currently, the fines begin at $75 for the third false alarm, escalating to $200 for the 13th one. Under the proposed fine structure, it would be $75 for the second one, $125 for the third, $175 for the fourth, $200 for the fifth through ninth and $250 for 10 and more.

Deputy Village Manager Jennifer Maltas said the change will target the majority of the repeat offenders -- those with between two and four false alarms.

Maltas said the village also could be charging for a commercial solicitor permit. The village currently does not charge for solicitor permits. There are two types of permits that are issued -- for-profit and not-for-profit. By federal law, the village cannot charge for not-for-profit permits.

In addition to the staff time associated with processing the permit in the Finance Department, the Police Department completes a background check for each person who will be soliciting. For that reason, staff is recommending a general permit fee of $50 (which includes one solicitor and background check) with a $15 fee for each additional person that is added to the permit in order to cover costs of the background check.

In addition, the village is talking about expanding the offenses eligible for its administrative tow fee. Police Chief Steven Casstevens said the $500 fee applies to DUI offenses and suspended or revoked license offenses related to DUI.

However, a state law passed since the Buffalo Grove ordinance was adopted in 2004 codifies procedures for impounding and seizing vehicles for additional violations. The village could begin impounding vehicles for violations of the Cannabis Control Act and the Controlled Substances Act, unlawful use of a weapon, retail theft, all suspended/revoked offenses (except emissions and unpaid parking/moving tickets), no valid drivers license, failure to appear on warrants for DUI, or driving on suspended/revoked/no valid drivers license. The statute also allows municipalities to pass an ordinance to seize vehicles for misdemeanor or felony offenses not specifically mentioned where a vehicle is used in commission of the offense.

A memo to the police chief said a review of 2012 arrest data indicates that the village could have added approximately 230 vehicle seizures to the 114 vehicles towed last year if it had adopted the expanded list, resulting in up to $115,000 in additional revenue to the village.

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