Tickets in White Bluff to cost $5 more after council approves fee to pay for eletronic citation system

The cost of a speeding ticket in White Bluff will be going up after the town council approved the creation of a new fee to pay for an electronic citation system. The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to add a $5 fee to each citation issued over the next five years by the White Bluff Police Department to purchase or lease the hardware and software to begin filing citations electronically. Police Chief Mike Holman said he is still reviewing proposals from different companies but is anticipating about $16,000 in startup costs then the annual service fee. Holman said the new system will reduce the time needed to process the citations from the issuing officer to filing them with the municipal court. “What the electronic citation does, it speeds up not only the officer’s time in the field, but it also speeds up the court’s time,” Holman said. The chief said Court Clerk Carol Harmon is spending 8-12 hours a week “keying data” to input citations into the court system. With an electronic citation system, Holman said uploading citation information will be as simple and quick as the click of a mouse. The portable devices will print a citation to be issued by the officer, but will allow the clerk to automatically upload each day’s citation information. The chief said he is not yet sure if the system will connect with court systems other than White Bluff Municipal Court such as Dickson County Juvenile Court, but will have the capability of issuing a paper citation and officers will still carry a citation book if needed as a backup. The new $5 citation fee will be added to the court costs on any citation issued by the White Bluff Police Department after the ordinance creating the fee is approved on second and final reading in August. The council approved the fee 3-0 on first reading Tuesday night with Todd Hamilton and Martha Beth Harding absent. The ordinance creating the fee includes a sunset provision that the fee will end in five years if not renewed by the council. Attorney Stan Reynolds said that is included to prompt the council to review the fee. “That makes you revisit it, to make sure whatever you’re doing at that time that that cost is justified,” Reynolds said. The ordinance faces a second and final reading at the council’s Aug. 5 meeting and will go into effect once the new system is in place.