Opp increases impound fees

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An ordinance to raise processing fees for vehicles impounded for drug or alcohol related charges was approved at Monday’s Opp City Council meeting.

Previously, a processing fee of $25 was required for the release of any vehicle impounded by city police, but Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald recommended the city increase for drug or alcohol related charges.

The ordinance increased the processing fee to $200 for possession of illegal drugs and $150 for driving under the influence.

McDonald said he determined the amount of these fees based on other cities, and said he believes the amounts to be fair and reasonable in comparison.

The approval was met with opposition from councilwoman Mary Brundidge and councilmen T.D. Morgan and Bobby Ray Owens during the work session, although Owens voted for the ordinance during the meeting.

Owens said he believes the processing fee should be the same amount for both charges and would like to bring up the amounts at a future council meeting.

Abstaining from the vote, Brundidge said she needed to think more about it, but believed the amount should be the same for both charges.

Morgan voted against the ordinance and said he doesn’t want those who protect and serve the city to make money.

“The Police department is supposed to be to protect and serve, not be a money maker,” Morgan said. “I just don’t believe our police department needs to be one of our revenue makers.”

Mayor John Bartholomew said the money would go into the city’s general fund and help with city needs, not be a revenue maker.

“We have to have money coming in to pay these men (police officers) who spend two or three hours away from doing their jobs, because somebody came into our city drunk or with drugs,” Bartholomew said. “When it takes four to five hours to do a report, it takes away from our other services to protect and serve our people.”

After a slight debate, the council authorized the mayor the authority to purchase items $7,500 or less for city needs, in case of an emergency.

Councilman Owens made the motion that the amount be $7,500, although the original motion was made for $15,000.

Councilmen Arlin Davis and Mike Booth opposed the adoption, and Booth said he thought the $15,000 was enough.

The money would be necessary in the event of a disaster happening, and he said he would hate to approve the $7,500 and not have enough money to help.

“Prices are higher than they used to be,” Booth said.

In other business:

• council approved the declaration of miscellaneous property at the Opp Library surplus and allowed the items to be thrown away or sold.