The Pekin City Council approved a new ordinance Monday that will allow police to impound the vehicles of people arrested for various crimes and charge them a $500 fee to get them back.
The ordinance was first introduced during an April 14 council meeting when city staff members offered ways to increase revenue with 14 new taxes and fees.
The ordinance, which was passed unanimously, gives police the ability to impound a vehicle if the driver is arrested for possession or delivery of controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, driving with a suspended or revoked license or unlawful use of weapons.
Police Chief Tim Gillespie said the new ordinance could generate $125,000 or more each year for the city.
“This is just another deterrent to induce vehicle owners not to commit certain types of criminal acts with their vehicles,” Gillespie told the council.
The ordinance applies to anyone driving any car, whether they own it or not.
“It’s also designed to make people look a little more carefully on who they’re giving their vehicle to,” said City Attorney Burt Dancey.
Owners will have 30 days to claim their vehicles. Any vehicle not claimed during the allotted time could be disposed of as abandoned or unclaimed.
Council members also voted on an agreement with Horizon Wind Energy LLC and its request for inclusion in an enterprise zone owned by the city and Tazewell County.
A revised agreement says the city and county will split a $300,000 certification fee for including the company’s proposed wind farm in the zone, where it would receive sales tax abatements. The council previously approved a fee of $250,000.
But the city and county are receiving conflicting legal advice on whether or not the Rail Splitter Wind Farm, at the border of Tazewell and Logan counties, should become part of the zone.
Tazewell County State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz says expanding the enterprise zone to the towers with 3-foot strips of land is illegal and not in the spirit of the law, while Dancey says it will be up to the state to decide.
“This is an apparent effort to manipulate the statute to fit the desires of the developer and the committee rather than using the provisions and benefits of the statute for the intended use and benefits,” Umholtz said in a written decision Monday. “Despite this effort, the proposed expansion still does not meet the technical requirements and definition of contiguous provided by the statute and the accompanying regulations.”
Dancey said he does not interpret the law the same way.
“I respect and understand his analysis,” Dancey said. “But I respectfully disagree.”
Dancey said the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will review the request if both sides approve it and will make the final decision.
“If they OK it, then it’s legal,” he said.
The Tazewell County Board will discuss the enterprise zone issue during its meeting Wednesday. Both the city and county have to agree for the process to move forward.
By Kevin Sampier
29 April 2008
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