State records for municipal courts in Dallas, Plano, Irving, Garland, Arlington and Mesquite show no large increase in those cities' parking and ticket revenue. Dallas' ticket revenue has been declining.
People paying fines at Fort Worth Municipal court were not pleased. Willis Payton, pastor of Second Advent Baptist Fellowship, said he received a Fort Worth seat belt citation, even though he insists he was wearing a seat belt. "It’s one thing about the streets being safe," said Payton. "I think that it’s a revenue maker."
Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief said the increase in revenue is the result of strict law enforcement to make the city a more appealing place. "Our strategic goal is to be the safest major city in the country," Moncrief said. The mayor also said Fort Worth is growing faster than other North Texas cities and dozens of additional police officers have been added to the force the past few years. "As the city grows, you’re going to have more citations written," Moncrief said.
The mayor said Fort Worth recently increased parking enforcement to help make more meter spaces available to visitors and discourage downtown workers from using the spaces all day and feeding the meters.
Downtown visitor Joe Ramirez disagreed with the policy. "To enforce it more than they have before, for whatever reason, I don’t think is fair," he said.
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Fort Worth police officials say a portion of the traffic ticket increase may also be due to a shift of accident investigators to speeding enforcement to improve highway safety. "We have a police department that’s doing their job," Mayor Moncrief said.