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Higher fines proposed for code violations, minor offenses

Most fines going from $25 to a $100 minimum

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 11:06 a.m. CST

DIXON – Fines for city code violations – such as littering, parking on a residential lawn, and allowing grass to grow too tall – soon could be more costly.

The City Council on Monday put on file for 14 days a proposed change in its codes to increase many violations from $25 to a minimum of $100. A final vote could come at the June 3 council meeting.

About 25 fines would be affected by the change.

Also included in the proposal is an ordinance to make it illegal to destroy or fail to return library property. Any person guilty of those violations could face a $100 minimum fine or $700 maximum, the proposed code said.

Police Chief Danny Langloss, also special assistant to the City Council, said a $25 minimum fine was seen as too low to deter repeat offenses of a handful of code violations.

He also said the fine was too low to reimburse the city for the time spent dealing with offenses.

"We typically give more than one warning for residents to correct the issue," said Langloss, who made the recommendation to the City Council. "When fines are issued, it's usually on our third and fourth visit."

Offenses for a dog running at large and a barking dog were decreased from a minimum fine of $200 to $150 to settle.

The ordinance protecting library property was sought by head librarian Lynn Roe. She said some residents owe more than $50 to the library.

"It's nothing out of the ordinary for a library," Roe said. "We're going to send out letters, and hope we recoup some of those losses."

While the library could pursue charges through the state criminal code, Roe said, that process is burdensome.

Settlement amounts for fines

Here are the proposed settlement amounts for first-time violations. Fines are increased from a minimum of $25, unless otherwise noted.

Depositing of waste/littering $150

Illegal encroachment $100

Dumping on right of way $100

Exterior storage of junk or machinery $100

Storage of materials that may harbor rats $100

Inoperable vehicle $100

Grass and weeds in excess of 8 inches $100

Possession of tobacco as a minor $150

Possession of open alcohol in public $150

Installing sign without permit $100

Prohibited sign $100

Parking in residential lawn $100

Constructing without permit $50 to $100

Unregistered contractor $50 to $150

Swimming pool enclosure $125

Property maintenance violations $100

Fencing without permit $100

Illegal burning $150

Unnecessary noises $150

Battery $250 to $400

Disorderly conduct $250 to $300

Possession of marijuana $250 to $400

Unlawful consumption/possession of alcohol $250 to $350

Skateboarding in a prohibited area $150

Barking dog $200 to $150

Dog running at large $200 to $150

Questions or concerns

Proposed fee changes can be found at www.discoverdixon.org by clicking "citizen's information center" then "board packets" for May 20. The information also is available at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.

Call 815-288-1485 with questions or concerns.

The next council meeting is 6:30 p.m. June 3 at City Hall.

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