GATES MILLS — Village Council passed an ordinance in December to increase the fees for all waivable traffic offenses to cover administrative costs. The fine for speeding also increased, depending on how fast the driver was traveling above the speed limit.
Detective Sgt. Michael Day explained that the village created a violations bureau four years ago. If someone who has been cited is eligible to pay through the violations bureau and wants to do so, they can. Otherwise, the Gates Mills police direct them to Lyndhurst Municipal Court to contest their ticket. Some individuals must go directly to court, such as those who have been charged with OVI and passing school buses.
After evaluating the administrative workload that the violations bureau had for the last four years, Det. Sgt. Day and Chief Gregg Minichello agreed that a small increase to cover administrative costs was fair. The fines for every waivable offense, including violations where no one is injured, moving violations, non-moving violations and seat belt violations, increased by $5.
“We found that the work changes hands a lot and there are a lot of steps,” Det. Sgt. Day said. “After four years, we evaluated the time it takes. A small increase was more than fair.”
He explained that with a $175 fine, $44 is distributed to various judicial programs outside of Gates Mills, such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation. There is also a processing fee of $51 included in the ticket, which will increase to $56 due to the new ordinance that was passed. Det. Sgt. Day said that the processing fee is for administrative work, such as adding the ticket to the record system and putting it on the online docket.
“We used to send all tickets to Lyndhurst [Municipal] Court and now we process a lot,” he said. “We’re writing the same amount of tickets, but there is more processing work now.”
In the prior ordinance, the fine for speeding up to 29 mph above the speed limit was $175. Now, speeding violations are broken up into two categories. The fine for driving 1-19 mph above the speed limit is $190. The fine for driving 20-29 mph above the speed limit is $200.
At the Dec. 8 council meeting, Councilwoman Sandra Turner questioned why the ordinance only lists fines for people driving up to 29 mph above the speed limit. She asked if some people go more than 29 mph above the speed limit. Chief Minichello said that those instances do occur and they require a mandatory court appearance and a citation for reckless operation, which would be forwarded to Lyndhurst Municipal Court.
Chief Minichello said that about 80 percent of traffic citations from the Gates Mills Police Department are for speeding. Speed is the likely cause of many motor vehicle accidents, Det. Sgt. Day said, so the officers determined that it was justifiable to increase the violation fees. There is a stretch of Mayfield Road with a high volume of traffic that runs through Gates Mills and the speed limit is 45 mph. The chief said that people driving faster should pay more because a higher speed is more dangerous.