By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

More than a dozen fines could increase in the Village of Waterford in the new year, based on a proposal that passed muster at first blush.

The Village Board on Dec. 13 approved the first reading of an ordinance that would officially increase 16 fines for such offenses as drug paraphernalia possession and retail theft in 2022.

In some cases, the fines could nearly double. A disorderly conduct citation, for example, could increase from the current rate of $187 to $313. A person found in violation of a theft less than $1,000 could incur a fine of $376, rather than the current figure of $250.

Some of the other offenses encapsulated in the ordinance have smaller price hikes. Students found in violation of tobacco on school grounds, for example, could incur a fine of $124, rather than the current rate of $86.20.

A number of animal-related offenses also are included in the proposed list of changes. Dog owners found in violation of having their four-footed companions in parks, for example, could pay $124, rather than the current rate of $92.50.

Village Administrator Zeke Jackson said there are several reasons behind the planned increases, including a review of how much other, neighboring municipalities charge for similar offenses.

A “whereas” clause in the ordinance further spells out why the price increases are planned in the upcoming year.

“The cost of law enforcement keeps rising every year; therefore the court has looked at ways of becoming more fiscally responsible,” the statement reads.

Wording in the proposed ordinance also states, “A study was done to review/compare fines charged for identical infractions in neighboring communities for ordinance violations and the following changes are recommended.”

The Village Board is slated to hold a second, and final, reading of the ordinance at its next regular meeting in January.