Archive for Thursday, July 17, 2008

Revenue needs shouldn’t sway law enforcement

July 17, 2008

The Eudora City Council and its administrator are in an unenviable position as they prepare a 2009 budget. They are hardly alone in being caught of short by the severity of the current housing downturn, as a look at current national headlines indicates.

Housing starts in Eudora fell from triple to single digits in the past years. That's a lot of lost sales tax from new refrigerators, stoves, living rooms sets and other household goods typically purchased for new homes. The annual healthy appraised value increases experienced during the boom and development fees are a thing of the past.

Obviously tough decisions need to be made. But it was startling to read that one revenue enhancement advocated by the city administrator was the issuance of more tickets. It is true that it was also suggested the city annex more of the Kansas Highway 10 corridor so that more the speeding tickets issued there would end up in municipal court.

But any suggestion is that the Eudora Police Department should issue more tickets to grow revenue on the city's existing roadways is a mistake.

We assume the city's law enforcement officers enforce ordinances based on public safety and their judgment - judgment informed by expensive training and experience. We would hope the city's financial health was never a consideration when officers decide who is pulled over and who is ticketed.

Such a practice would risk the department's credibility with the public and make suspect many of the tickets it issued. We would encourage a clarification of that suggestion and a firm direction from the council to keep the police department free of such considerations.

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