North Bay police board rejects fee proposal for warning notices
North Bay police service was looking to charge fees for warnings issued by officers
The Police Services Board in North Bay has turned down a proposal to charge fees when officers issue warnings about minor traffic violations.
North Bay police were proposing fees up of to $22 dollars to cover the administrative cost of following up on compliance notices. Those notices cover things like expired licence stickers or a burnt out tail light.
The revenue from the fees would have gone back into the police budget.
At the board's meeting Wednesday, members voted against the idea of tacking fees onto warning notices.
North Bay Police Chief Paul Cook told CBC News earlier that police services "have to be responsible in our budgeting process. I have to look at those different possibilities that are available to us."
Cook said the proposed fees would cover the cost of officers pulling over a driver, and the administrative time spent ensuring people have complied with their warning notice.
Last year, North Bay officers issued about 1,800 compliance notices. If the force had collected $22 for each notice, it would have boosted the police budget by about $40,000.
The idea is proving controversial and found little support among people who attended recent community consultations in North Bay, said city councillor Tanya Vrebosch, who also sits on the police services board.
"They don't want to have another fee added to something that is a warning. It's supposed to be a good will gesture."
Other police forces have already moved ahead with the idea, including London and Stratford, Cook said.
More forces will likely consider the option of compliance fees in the future because municipalities have made it clear they do not support increasing police budgets, said Joe Couto, director of government relations and communications for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
"We have to find alternative ways to sustain what we do and to meet the expectations of those who we report to, ultimately the citizens of every community in the province," he said.