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Marysville Police Chief Says Red Light Fines Too Expensive

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MARYSVILLE (CBS13) – If you get caught going through a red light in the city of Marysville, you’ll face a $478 fine. But, the police chief says that fine is not only unfair to drivers, but to the city as well.

“I’ve gotten one, yeah, and my final fine was almost $600. It’s nuts,” said one resident.

You don’t have to go far to find people who’ve gotten a ticket.

“I think it’s outrageous,” said another resident.

It’s because of Marysville’s red light cameras.

Now drivers may have an unlikely ally, the city’s own police chief, who, on one hand, commends the cameras, but wants to put a stop to what he calls unfairly high fines.

Chief Wally Fullerton blames what he calls “fiscal cannibalism” for the high cost.

Essentially, Fullerton’s report to Marysville council members says the state and county are feeding off his city.

“Out of a $478 dollar red light ticket, the state and Yuba County get two-thirds of the money, while Marysville gets only $152,” the report stated.

“It’s obviously frustrating,” said Yuba County Supervisor John Nicoletti.

Nicoletti, who represents Marysville, takes issue with the idea that the county is taking more than it should from a struggling city.

“I really don’t think that’s the story,” said Nicoletti.

Nicoletti says the fine system is set by the state and all the county’s portion goes directly to the courts.

He says that fine might actually not even be enough because the cameras work too well. Nicoletti says the red tape of red light tickets is now slowing down the county court system.

“The system that’s built, designed for a slower volume, is now in an overwhelmed state,” said Nicoletti. “The county of Yuba has lost just as much money from the state as the city of Marysville.”

Fullerton told CBS13 by phone that he knows of no actual plan to change the fine system.

A number of cities, including neighboring Yuba City, have done away with red light cameras.

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