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Impoundment fees - $100,000/yr. pace!!!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Impoundment fees - $100,000/yr. pace!!!

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
May 29, 2012

I've written before about Woodstock's new vehicle impoundment fees, and I've wondered how many tickets have been written by the Woodstock Police Department officers, since the new ordinance was quietly enacted in January. Today I found out, just by reading the PD's report in the May 15th City Council packet.

The Woodstock City Council had a letter from Chief Lowen (obviously prepared by legal staff) in its City Council packet in January. That letter was dated January 3, 2012, and quickly followed an effective date (January 1, 2012) of a change in State law which allowed a small city, like Woodstock, to enact such a law. Was Woodstock ready to pounce? You bet.

Chief Lowen estimated that his officers would impound 50 vehicles per year. At a $500 impoundment fine, that would generate $25,000 for the City. The fine is collected in the Woodstock Administrative Adjudication Court, not in McHenry County Circuit Court. Fifty (50) vehicles at $500 each equals $25,000.

How is the P.D. doing as a profit center for the City of Woodstock?

In its April 2012 report to the City Manager (and City Council) the Woodstock Police Department reported $10,000 collected in fines in the month of April alone, and $28,500 in fines year-to-date.

The pace? Over $100,000 per year!!! A far cry above Chief Lowen's estimate of $25,000.

This is money sucked out of the public unnecessarily. Add to that total the towing fees and daily storage fees. Money that could be spent in Woodstock businesses. Keeping Woodstock businesses open (besides the towing companies). Instead, it will deprive Woodstock businesses of that revenue and drive business out of Woodstock.

Residents and business owners should pounce on the mayor and the City Council and demand that they rescind this ordinance.

Who came up with that brilliant idea? The police chief? Not likely. The finance director of the city? Maybe. The city manager? Maybe. The city's law firm? Most likely?

Is anyone else upset with the police-state mentality that has come to Woodstock? Am I the only one who cares? Write to the police chief, the city manager, the mayor, members of the city council and send me a copy. Here are the addresses:

rlowen@woodstockil.gov, citymanager@woodstockil.gov, mayor@woodstockil.gov, mlarson@woodstockil.gov, rthompson@woodstockil.gov, jdillon@woodstockil.gov, mturner@woodstockil.gov, rahrens@woodstockil.gov, msaladin@woodstockil.gov, gus@woodstockadvocate.com,

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