6/26/2007Illinois County Admits to Seizing Cars to Generate Cash
Lee County, Illinois is counting on a new car seizure program to boost revenue.
Officials in Lee County, Illinois admit the primary purpose behind laws and ordinances authorizing the seizure of automobiles is to make money. The county board last week approved a plan to create a new vehicle impound area by fencing off a section of an existing parking lot.
"If we have an area we can put vehicles, we'll seize more vehicles and sell vehicles," Varga told the Sauk Valley Telegraph newspaper. "It gives us an opportunity to seize more and generate money for the county."
On June 14, the county board's finance committee by a 3-2 vote approved spending $10,000 out of a capital improvement fund to pay for the new fencing on the grounds that it would save $12,000 a year in storage fees paid to a private lot. The only disagreement was whether the $10,000 should have come out of the sheriff's budget.
Last month, the sheriff generated $13,912 in revenue from traffic tickets (the equivalent of $170,000 a year). For this county of 36,000 residents, municipal and county police together generated $63,737 in revenue (the equivalent of $770,000 a year).