A Handful of Colorado Towns Rely Heavily on Money from Traffic Tickets
By: Alexa Corcoran for Rocky Mountain PBS News
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Ashlee Lucero talks about struggling to pay a $80 traffic fine and an added $130 in fees issued last September in Mountain View — a six block by three block town tucked between Denver and Wheat Ridge. When she missed a payment on the fine, Mountain View issued a Contempt of Traffic Court warrant for her that led to a night in jail. She said she lost her job because of that. Mountain View\’s reliance on traffic fines and fees is second highest in Colorado.
Final records for 2014 were not available, but in 2013 ticket revenues generated $621,099 – more than half of Mountain View’s municipal budget. As a percentage of total, that’s more than ten times more than most Colorado communities earn from traffic tickets and related court fines.
Rocky Mountain PBS I-News, in collaboration with 9Wants to Know, analyzed 270 municipal budgets in Colorado. Of those, 230 cities and towns reported revenue from traffic tickets. Only 40 municipalities earned more than 4 percent of revenue from citations.
Of those 40 towns, Mountain View had the second highest percentage of revenue from fines, 53 percent in 2013.