Council discusses higher fines

Killian Jauch, News Editor

The City of Whitewater Common Council might decide to raise fines and fees for using false identification, being intoxicated in public or carrying illegal substances.

During its first meeting of the month Tuesday, Sept. 4, the council members addressed a proposal to increase financial penalties for public intoxication, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and using or providing improper identification, among others.

A discussion occurred, but the council ultimately decided to push the item to its next meeting in order to conduct further review.

Whitewater City Manager Cameron Clapper said the proposed changes are meant to deter those behaviors in the community by instating heftier penalties. However, several members of the council took issue with this train of thought.

“I don’t think we’re ready for this,” council member at-large James Allen said. “I don’t see how this aids in deterrence. In principle, I am not against this, but I’m not sure if we’re going about it the right way.”

Alderman (Dist. 4) Lynn Binnie also expressed concerns with certain aspects of the proposed changes, specifically the increased fine for a first time offender of marijuana possession.

“Now, I am not a proponent of marijuana,” Binnie said. “But should it really be penalized nearly double that of a theft?” 

The Council was unable to commit to the proposal and will take action at a later date.

“Maybe we are jumping into this too quickly,” Stephanie Vander Pas said. “I’m not prepared to make a sweeping yes or no decision.”