This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Senate voted Wednesday to crack down on an infamous "speed trap" in Manuta in Box Elder County.
Senators voted 23-4 to pass SB100, and sent it to the House. It would allow no city to use traffic tickets to generate more than 25 percent of its budget. Mantua now generates about 39 percent of its revenue that way, resulting in low property taxes.
"We should not have policing for profit, and this is what that clearly is," said Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, adding that he's received complaints about Mantua from around the state and even the West.
He said his Cache Valley constituents have complained for years about receiving unfair tickets in Mantua, population 741, for slightly exceeding the speed limit.
Mike Johnson, who is both Mantua's mayor and police chief, said in a recent hearing that his town is being unfairly targeted. He is a former Utah Highway Patrol sergeant, and said no one is ticketed unfairly and enforcement has made the area safer because most people know to slow down or they may face a ticket.
"We would lose enough money that we may have to do away with several officers," he said in opposing the legislation. "The cost of running our police would be severely hampered."
Hillyard complained that the small, rural town with its four officers has more police per residents than Washington, D.C., and sarcastically questioned if it has a gang problem.
Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, opposed the bill as improper interference by the state, and an attempt to take away a small city's money. "This is Big Brother like I have never seen since I have been here," he said. "This is just not right."
Sen. Pete Knudsen, R-Brigham City who acknowledged being ticketed in Mantua himself also opposed the bill, saying the state is attempting to tell small cities how they can police, and how they can spend their money.
The Tribune previously reported that Mantua police wrote 1,710 tickets in fiscal 2013. KUTV reported that they wrote 2,185 in fiscal 2014.