Waiving Report Fees for Sexual Assault Victims on Tonight’s Springfield City Council Agenda

Tonight’s Springfield City Council meeting doesn’t have many agenda items but at least two of them will be of major importance to residents.

The two are connected to city fees. The first measure taken up by Council will be Council Bill 2019-019 which sets the fee schedule for the city of Springfield in the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year.

Working under the assumption the same number of fees will be charged by the city in the upcoming fiscal year, the changes will generate just over $637,000 in new revenue for the city. This would raise the city’s “cost recovery” of fees to 97.68%.

After the Council takes action on that agenda item, which council observers expect to pass, the Council will then take up a measure to waive the fees for obtaining a police report for a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence.

The bill, Council Bill 2019-020, has been widely praised in the community and is expected to pass.

The bill could be a forerunner of a major change in city policy concerning fees for incident reports. During the Council’s Finance and Administration Committee debate on the waiving of fees for sexual assault victims, Councilman Craig Hosmer said that all crime victims should receive the same treatment as victims of sexual assault.

“There is no reason I can think of for any victim of a crime in the City of Springfield to have to pay a fee for the police report in their case,” Hosmer said in that January 9, 2019 meeting. “It might even make them more likely to cooperate with law enforcement.”

The change, which would only apply to victims themselves and not their lawyers or representatives, would go into effect immediately while the remainder of changes to city fees would go into effect at the start of the fiscal year.

Because both items had public hearings at the last Council meeting, it is not anticipated the public will be able to address Council on those two issues. Mayor McClure could do this at his discretion.

Other items of note on the Council agenda include one reading bills to appoint John Applequist and Matt Owen as substitute judges for the Springfield Municipal Court for four-year terms, and the City Manager being given authorization to accept a $305,975 grant from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development for the SkillUP program and Summer Jobs League Program.

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