Opp: Stiffer penalties may come for DUI, possession

Published 9:47 pm Monday, October 6, 2014

A proposed ordinance may cause some residents to rethink driving under the influence or in possession of illegal drugs.

The Opp City Council yesterday discussed, a proposed ordinance to charge a larger processing fee for impounded vehicles when the operator of the vehicle is arrested for being in possession of illegal drugs or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

The current processing fee is $25 per impounded vehicle.

With the approval of this ordinance, the processing fee will be increased to $200 for possession of illegal drugs and $150 for driving under the influence.

“There’s a lot of places that charge a lot more, but I wanted to keep it reasonable,” Police Chief Mike McDonald. “We got to the game late.”

The administration or processing fee is higher for these impounds because of the seriousness of the violations, McDonald said.

“It’s part of the safe ordinance act that’s passed through the country,” he said.

“It would suit me if he charged $500 for alcohol or drugs,” Councilman Mike Booth said. “My grandkids or my family members could be riding down the road and be killed by someone under the influence.

“The sky’s the limit as for what you charge, in my opinion.”

Councilman T.D. Morgan said he opposed the ordinance because he said he believes the processing fees should be the same for all offenses.

Monday marked the first reading of the ordinance, which will be considered at the Oct. 20 meeting.

Additionally, discussion during the work session included the repair of a fire hydrant at Rosa Lee and Nine Street, the acquiring of the Army Reserve Building and the purchase of old surplus work trucks from the city for use of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority.

In other business, the council:

• approved the purchase of 100 new garbage cans for $54 per can;

• approved the extension of the expired budget to the next budget meeting which hasn’t been scheduled;

• asked for prayers for the victims and families involved in the recent car accidents, and for Trailmasters President Kenneth Short who was recently injured.