OGDEN Police agencies in Ogden and Box Elder County may slap a gas surcharge onto some traffic tickets to help departments offset the rising cost of gas.
Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner said he wants to add the surcharge to traffic tickets and accident-related citations. He says adding the fee will require a new city ordinance. An attorney is researching the proposal.
"We wanted to hear legal opinions before we run it by the council," Greiner said.
Greiner said his department was $130,000 over its allotted fuel budget in the last fiscal year. He says a $20 ticket surcharge could generate as much as $60,000.
Greiner said the extra income could prevent the department from having to make cuts in other parts of the department's budget to make up for high energy and gas costs.
Police use large amounts of fuel because they leave their vehicles idling during traffic accidents to power flashing patrol car lights and other electrical equipment
"There's a good argument that there are more costs associated with accidents than tickets," Greiner said. "We're doing the legal research. We'll see where it goes."
Revenue generated from traffic citations is split 65 percent goes to the state and 35 percent is shared by the courts and the agency that issued the citation.
If Ogden's City Council opted for a surcharge ordinance, the money would go into the city's general budget. Greiner said he would hope city leaders would apply the funds to the department's fuel budget.
Greiner also said an ordinance should include a sunset provision and expire if gas prices go down.
"This isn't the kind of thing that should be there forever," the police chief said.
Box Elder County Sheriff Lynn Yeates said he's considering a similar proposal.
"Denver is doing it already and we're looking at doing it for the county, but it's a ways out," Yeates said.