The City of Sacramento will be hosting monthly virtual community conversations with residents to discuss how fines and fees impact their lives. The virtual conversations will begin Saturday, Jan. 16 and occur every third Saturday of the month from 10 – 11:30 a.m. for the next several months.
These conversations are part of the national Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice program. The City and County of Sacramento last May were chosen to participate in reforming certain fines and fees that cause a disproportionate burden on lower-income residents and communities of color.
“Too often we hear about how a fine or fee has impacted a resident after the fact, when the damage has been done,” said Councilmember Jay Schenirer, a champion of this initiative. “We want to hear from those people directly impacted by fines and fees to build an understanding of the community’s most pressing fine-and-fee concerns and to help identify and implement solutions.”
Residents also will be asked to take a survey to help the City and County determine which fines and fees are of most concern to the community.
City staff have engaged various City departments to gather and identify opportunities for fine-and-fee reduction and reform, including the Sacramento Police Department, Community Development, Public Works, Finance, Utilities, Fire, Youth Parks & Community Enrichment and Convention and Cultural Services.
City staff — with City Council involvement — will analyze data and community input to determine which fines and fees should be considered for reform. City leadership has committed to reforming at least three fines and fees.
“This effort will help Sacramento City and County develop and implement fine-and-fee reforms that make a difference in the lives of low-income and historically underserved communities,” said Assistant City Manager Michael Jasso. “It will align with our City’s work in furthering inclusive economic development and create more economic opportunity with and for communities in need.”
Residents with personal stories about the impacts experienced due to fines and fees are encouraged to take the survey and to attend one or more of these virtual events by registering on the City’s website.
The City’s Community Engagement team is also collecting stories about experiences with fines and fees on an ongoing basis. Residents can share their stories by emailing CE@cityofsacramento.org.
Participation in the Fine and Fee Justice program is part of the City’s efforts to promote and ensure inclusive economic and community development. The City also launched the Sacramento Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) last May that offers professional one-on-one financial counseling and coaching as a free public service to local residents.