DUI offenders in Reynoldsburg could be monitored

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By Dustin Ensinger

Staff Writer

Repeat DUI offenders who find themselves in Reynoldsburg mayor’s court may soon be forced to take an extra step before starting their vehicles while under supervision of the court.

The Reynoldsburg finance committee moved emergency legislation to full council that would establish a fund to install interlock breathalyzer devices in repeat offenders’ vehicles.

The fund was established through a state law that provides local courts with a portion of license reinstatement fees. The city recently received a check for about $16,000.

“If the court orders it, we’ll have to use the money to pay for it,” said City Auditor Richard Harris.

Assistant City Attorney Matthew Roth said it is likely the court will order it.

“We have some certain candidates for that in mayor’s court,” Roth said. “We just never had the funding before. I think it’s something our magistrates and mayor’s court will start using for enforcement purposes.”

Roth said individuals forced to use the monitors would be repeat offenders.

“A true first offender, probably we’re not going to use that with,” Roth said. “But if somebody looks like they’ve had a pattern in the past, don’t want to repeat it, we may use it for that.”

Once the fund is established, the city will receive revenue for it through fees paid by individuals convicted of drunken driving.

“I don’t see the fund running out of money,” Roth said.

Despite the lack of a probation department, the city can use the funding to pay a third-part to lease the equipment and monitor it for violations, according to Roth.

The monitoring and lease of the equipment costs about $75 per month for each individual.

The funding could also be used for a monitoring bracelet capable of detecting when an individual has consumed alcohol.

Cost-of-living increase

Dozens of Reynoldsburg employees could soon receive their first raise in the past three years.

The finance committee voted unanimously to send a measure for 3 percent cost-of-living increase for non-bargaining unit employees to full council.

The pay raise, if approved, will affect about 60 employees, according to Harris.

The funding to pay for the raises was included in the budget council approved last month, Harris said

New police cruisers

The safety committee voted to send for the full council’s consideration a measure that would allow for the purchase of two new police cruisers.

The new SUV cruisers would cost about $70,000 after trade-ins of two cruisers with high mileage. The funding for the purchase was included in the recently approved budget.

Councilman Daniel Skinner questioned the trade-in value of the used cruisers, saying Kelly’s Blue Book shows a higher value for the make and model of similar mileage.

Police Chief Jim O’Neill said the comparison is not valid.

“Typically, the vehicles we trade in have been run pretty hard,” he said, pointing out that many times when cruisers are stationary, their engines are still running.

Harris echoed those sentiments.

“There’s a very limited market for people who want those vehicles,” he said.

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