The City of Plattsburgh, New York has an increasing problem with public urination. However, the biggest problem is that the city kept only five percent of the money streaming out of these arrests to the state. It may be a sign of the economic times that cities and states are fighting over urination fines as a new stream of revenue.
Plattsburgh has declared a public urination “epidemic.” Plattsburgh police Lt. Scott Beebie said the most common urination sites are located around downtown business.
The City Council decided this week to make disorderly conduct a local law. City Council member Chris Jackson explained:”What it does is instead of sending 95 percent of the fine to the state … we now keep 95 percent of the fine and send 5 percent to the state. Nothing’s changed. The actual wording of the law is no different than it was yesterday, so it’s just a matter of keeping money here in the city.”
It is unclear how much the city will become dependent on this new revenue stream or whether it will create a perverse incentive to add drinking fountains and pictures of ocean scenes to increase the rate of violators.
There are also the problems of interstate commerce. If a defendant urinates across a state line, where is he prosecuted and which state gets the fine?
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