Municipal Court late fees lowered

The Unified Government Commission tonight voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that lowered the late fees in Municipal Court.

The required $50 late fees per charge are being reduced to $5 under the change.

According to officials, the change will not impose undue or unjust fees, reflects the staff time spent on the fines, and is in line with UG Commission goals to improve the economic prosperity of all residents.

In the past, according to officials, handling the late cases was more time-consuming before they had computers, but with computers, it takes less staff time.

Officials said they hope the change encourages more people to come forward in a more timely manner, appear in court and pay their fines.

In other action, the UG Commission also unanimously approved some changes to the fireworks ordinance. For the most part, the changes involve safety and security in the distribution of fireworks.

More than 125 pounds of consumer grade fireworks will have to be reported to the fire marshal and stored in the same manner as professional grade fireworks under the changes. The Fire Department will know the locations where large amounts of fireworks are stored, in order to protect citizens, according to officials.

Pre-ordered consumer fireworks will have to be distributed from a licensed Kansas fireworks retailer’s sales establishment. They cannot be taken to a new location and handed out there; instead groups that are selling fireworks to raise funds will have to have the buyers pick up the fireworks at a licensed retailer’s stand.

Other changes, according to the Kansas City, Kansas, fire marshal, will include requiring two water fire extinguishers at each sales outlet; requiring a cash bond from retailers to cover the possible cost of cleanup; requiring retailers to notify the fire marshal about what is done with leftover fireworks; and requiring fireworks stand owners to be present for the initial inspection by the Fire Department.

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