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City changes where tickets paid

Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2003

Paying traffic tickets or other municipal violations does not generally put people in a good mood. Changing the location where the fines are paid probably won't help anyone's mood, but it will help the city of Kenai's coffers.

Since Oct. 1, people with citations for violating a municipal ordinance, like speeding, having a barking dog or rolling through a stop sign, have had to pay those fines at city hall at 210 Fidalgo Ave., instead of at the Kenai Courthouse on Trading Bay Road.

"I think it's going to get a little confusing for people when it starts, since they used to go to the courthouse," the city's legal secretary, Sheryl Padilla, said when the city first decided to enact the move.

"It's one of those things that could irritate people for a while."

In the past, clerks at the courthouse collected the fines for Kenai municipal citations. The court system got 10 percent of the fines for their collection services and forwarded the rest to the city.

An administrative change in the state court system gave municipalities the option of collecting those fines themselves, Padilla said.

Now that the city collects the fines, it gets 100 percent of the funds.

"This is an effort to not give up that money," Padilla said.

Cary Graves, Kenai city attorney, estimated the savings to the city could be around $15,000 a year.

Though the change will mean more work for city personnel, it won't be work that is unfamiliar. Padilla said she already keeps track of who has paid and whose fine is overdue.

"I'm doing that anyway, so I'll just see the list sooner," she said.

The only thing that has changed is the location where uncontested Kenai municipal citations are paid.

Contested tickets are still being dealt with at the courthouse, and the amount of the fines has not changed.

Kenai City Hall is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.



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