Citizens claim city leaders ordered more tickets to bolster city budget

Posted at 9:37 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 22:37:15-05

Several people we've talked to say Marlin say city leaders ordered officers to start writing more traffic tickets to plug a hole in the city budget in a recent meeting.

Traffic seems to move a little slower in Marlin these days, after what some people call a shocking discussion about a shortfall in the city budget.

"Every time I go to the meetings no one can give exact numbers as to where we are, what we need and what we have," said Stacie Eisenbise, Marlin resident.

She and others say they heard city leaders in an open meeting come up with the idea of having police write more traffic tickets to bolster the budget.

"That's ridiculous, because it's illegal for one thing,” Eisenbise said. 

Police agree, Texas outlaws ticket quotas.

But, Mayor John Keefer says the city never asked for them.

"We've never asked our officers to write tickets,” said Mayor Keefer.

Central Texas News Now tried for several weeks to get City Manager Alan Grindstaff to talk to us about the budget, but could never get him on the phone.

Mayor John Keefer explained the discussion centered on creating a traffic division to keep the streets safe for the public.

"We have a handful of incidents where we have individuals that we pulled over for speeding 100 miles an hour so that is a public safety concern," Keefer said.

Keefer says the council had to make budget adjustments when revenue didn't meet what they needed to hire the officers they needed, a process made more difficult by finding qualified people.

People here don't doubt that, but they don't want Marlin to get a reputation as a speed trap.

"Everybody knows there are certain places in Texas that are speed traps, everybody knows that," said Eisenbise.

All this brings us back to a city budget in which many people say revenues don't meet expenses. 

City council members have called a special meeting Tuesday night in which they plan to discuss the future of the city manager, a man many say, put Marlin in its financial position in the first place.

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