Barb Prost/Herald-Chronicle
Monday night, the Carbondale City Council approved the sixth payment, in the amount of $121,185, for the city’s new swimming pool that is under construction. The pool is expected to open Memorial Day.

Wayne White | Managing Editor

CARBONDALE—Scofflaws in Carbondale will help pay for more police equipment after action taken at Monday’s meeting of the Carbondale City Council.

At the request of Carbondale Police Chief Jon Reed, the council agreed to devote more of the city’s collected diversion agreement fees to the police equipment fund.

Carbondale City Clerk Sandy Schiffelbein said currently 50 percent of the collected diversion fees were transferred into the police equipment fund.

“I wonder if the council would approve that percentage to be raised either higher or to 100 percent of the diversion funds,” Reed said.

Schiffelbein questioned whether the entire amount should be placed in the fund, pointing out that her office and city attorney Sue Devoe administer the diversion program.

“There is cost involved with working up the diversion paperwork,” Schiffelbein said.

Reed also asked that consideration be given to increasing the diversion fees, which are set by Devoe.

Devoe agreed diversion fees in the city “are really, really low.”

“I have an extremely liberal diversion policy,” she said, “because the purpose is to get people to obey the law, not create havoc.”

She said most of the diverted cases involve traffic infractions such as speeding.

Devoe said it had been many years since the fee was increased.

“If they are increased it would bring in substantial revenue,” she said.

Reed said he also expected enforcement of city ordinances to be increased.

“We are going to start taking as much as we can through city court,” he said. “That’s what we’re enforcing, the ordinances in our city limits.”

Devoe said that as more cases are filed, it will also increase the amount of diversion fees collected.

Reed said his goal in increasing the fees and the amount put into the police equipment fund is to “not to have to increase my equipment budget.”

“I don’t want to decrease it, but we can maybe plateau it eventually,” he said.

The council agreed with Carbondale City Councilman Mike Reynolds’ motion to place 75 percent of the diversion fees into the police equipment fund.

During the discussion, Reed also presented three quotes for carpeting the police department.

Reed said the carpet in every room in the police department has stains and rips. Reynolds said the police department was last carpeted in 2002.

“My whole thing is that carpet, when you walk in there, it doesn’t look very good,” said Carbondale City Councilman Daryl Makowski.

With Makowski’s motion, the council approved a bid from Carpet One for $2,534.71 less sales tax. The bid includes installation of 870 square feet of carpet, and moving furniture as needed.

“Maybe we can maintain it better as we move forward,” Reed said.

Reed also proposed that the council consider other expenditures for the police department – police cars.

“Our cars are falling apart,” Reed said. “Their maintenance has been, in the past, poor. I think it’s because the life has been drove out of them.”

He explained that while driving the department’s Chevy Impala to an emergency call recently, the car “just flat laid down.”

He said one car is used as little as possible due to its condition, and a third car is running satisfactory, but required repairs last year.

“For just a little bit more than you spent on repairs last year, we could replace those cars,” Reed said.

It was noted police car repairs cost the city about $9,200 last year.

Reed presented information on a three-year lease program for Chevrolet and Dodge cars with police packages; approximate cost was $21,000 for the Chevrolet model and $22,000 for the Dodge. The lease would be paid off in three annual payments, he said, after which the city could purchase the cars for $1.

Newer cars would require fewer repairs and have a higher resale value, he said.

“We could get to a point where vehicles can be rotated a little more regularly,” he said.

If two cars were replaced now, “in 2013 we could look at replacing the third vehicle,” he said.

If the cars are not replaced, Reed said more repair costs are imminent.

Makowski said the cost to transfer equipment from old cars to new was a concern.

“I know in the past we’ve had some pretty good fees on that,” Makowski said.

While the council took no action to purchase police cars, Carbondale City Councilman Mike Fulton said replacing one car was a possibility.

“Let’s look into possibly replacing the Impala and you can get some figures on swapping over the equipment,” Fulton told Reed.

Reed also said he would like the council to consider purchasing a new computer for the police department. The main police department computer, used to maintain all of the department’s reports, is having problems, he said.

“Right now I’m trying to back up everything I can,” he said, “but if we lose it, we lose a lot.”

The council took no action on the request.

In other business, the council:

• approved a bid from Bettis Asphalt in the amount of $225,940 for repair of sections of North, Wells, Wilson, and Osage streets. Repairs are expected to begin in June.

• approved a $7,642 bid from Continental Pools for plumbing repair in the pool’s bathhouse. Volunteers are to be sought for re-roofing and painting the building.

• approved an ordinance regulating garbage receptacle placement on city streets and rights-of-way.