While we are all surrounded by municipal fees, some of them are “optional”. One such fee is the unanimously passed 22-1041 (Item L1) by the council on September 6, 2022. This amendment to Section 10-8 of the Naperville municipal code which establishes a $900 administrative fee for registered owners of motor vehicles that engage in fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer. Getting passed and waiving the first reading shows the city is serious…about optional fees.
As stated previously this is an optional fee whereas if the owner flees, the are opting into the fee. What the city missed out on is the accessorial charges that could be attached to this option as certainly not all fleeing attempts are created equal.
Some accessorial charges that could be added to the next wave of optional fees are shown below. While I don’t advocate for owners to opt into this fee, these more nickel and dime added-values could help the city get their finances in better order.
For example, an owner could be charged a:
- Per-mile (or portion thereof) fee. ~Average taxi fee is $5 for the first mile and then $3 per mile. Since the city would be chasing and thus returning, the fee should begin from the point of flee to the placement in jail. Of course there should be a minimum.
- Per trip fee for each additional passenger. Let’s face it, those folks need to be administratively processed as well (Name, D.O.B., SSN). An impromptu background check to see if they too need a trip to the gray-bar hotel. Suggested “optional” fee $50/passenger.
- Waiting time. This can get tricky as what constitutes waiting. Better yet, this could be a flee meter wherein the clock starts when the flee begins. When in custody the clock can stop.
- Surge pricing. Take this one from the playbook of share ride companies. If there is a lot of activity, this optional fee can double, heck triple if necessary. The sky is the limit since there is a free market on fleeing and catching.
- Fuel Surcharge. These cruisers don’t fuel themselves and seeing as the city of Naperville has not opted to refit the peace department with coal-fueled electric vehicles (yet).
- Light / Siren activation fee
- Aggravation fee
- Automatic gratuities. Why not have an automatic 18% added to the Naperville Peace Officer Memorial. While optional, this is highly recommended. Back the blue!
The council can always come back to the table and look to the private sector for inspiration on other ways to increase optional fees for those who flee. The time is now to enforce these types of industry-standard fees while crime is once again starting to become illegal.