The City of Merritt is investigating the possibility of changing the way they enforce bylaws.
Under their current system, if the City wants to serve a ticket they are required to do so in-person. Director of Corporate Services Sean Smith says that’s tying their hands.
Smith outlined a recent situation where the City tracked a subject who dumped in the City to another City however it would have cost more to serve the ticket than the ticket itself.
“You can give in-person service or mail it or affix it to their car. It’s just more flexible in the way you can serve somebody a ticket,” said Smith. “It will allow for equable enforcement, particularly against those persons who aren’t residents.”
While the new procedure would allow for easier ticketing, it would also remove the option for a dispute to go to court, a move citizen Craig Gray disagrees with.
“I’m sorry but I believe in common law, I believe in a court system where we can be judged for what we’ve done wrong. I don’t believe in a court system where the City or anybody is the police, the maker of the laws, the judge and executioner. I’m sorry but the (new procedure) is exactly that,” said Gray. “I strongly disagree and would ask that Council members vote against this.”
It was noted by Mr. Smith that the City has not taken a single person to court this year over a bylaw offense and that an adjudicated system is generally cheaper for all parties.
Council approved a motion to have staff investigate the possible change and report back at a future meeting.
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