The city is considering increasing the fines given to people who continually receive red tag notices for loud and unruly gatherings.
The Tucson City Council will consider at its meeting Tuesday, March 21, an additional fine forcing those who receive a second red tag notice to repay the city for the costs of responding police officers. The extra fine to pay for police resources will be capped at $1,000.
The city already has fines associated with unruly gatherings — $500 for the first red-tag offense and $1,000 for a second violation — but with this new recovery fee, the costs could quadruple for a second red tag.
A red-tagged property must display the city notice in a visible location for 180 days. Removing the notice is a civil infraction.
The previous sanctions simply were not working, argues City Councilman Steve Kozachik, who asked staff to consider harsher penalties.
Kozachik represents the midtown Ward 6, which includes the University of Arizona and part of downtown.
“It is a regular and recurring problem every semester,” he said.
And if students continue to ignore the law, he believes, then they should pay back the city for the costs incurred by the city.
“It is a waste of resources,” Kozachik said.
The new possible changes to the city’s red tag law coincides with an attempt by a local group to change the law it says unfairly targets UA and Pima Community College students.
Clark Knobel, a UA student who started the petition, argued the law gives too much discretion to the police department.
Knobel did not respond for comment but on his online petition’s page, he acknowledges he started the petition after receiving a red tag. He disputed the citation and won.
As part of the petition, Knobel said he wants the city to set a specific minimum noise level or raise the limit of people required at a gathering where a red tag can be issued, which now is five people or more.
The petition has 916 signatures, his goal is to get 1,000 signatures and turn it into the city.