Mantua Council Examines Budget Shortfall, Connection To Parking Tickets

Mar 18, 2021, 6:41 PM | Updated: 7:35 pm

MANTUA, Utah – The Mantua Town Council planned to take a close look at the town’s budget shortfalls Thursday night following a report by the KSL Investigators that looked at revenue from parking tickets.

This is not a fish story but it does begin with a day of fishing.

“We caught a bunch of perch and bluegill and some trout,” Bryton Blake remembered about his day at Mantua Reservoir.

He also remembered the $75 ticket that he found on his windshield for parking in the roadway.

Blake said he followed the parking signs. “But they have arrows pointing inward and I was on the outside of the signs,” he said.

He’s not alone. In early 2020 several anglers called the KSL Investigators to complain about parking tickets handed out at the reservoir, just off U.S. Highway 89 between Brigham City and Logan.

Bryton Blake was dismayed by the parking ticket he got near Mantua Reservoir. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) Michael Castro Mantua police chief  (Mike Anderson KSL TV)

When a KSL producer tried to get an interview about a spike in the number of parking tickets in Mantua, she was told at the last minute that the department spokesperson was not available because all non-essential police duties were being cut due to budget problems.

Mantua was already known as a speed trap. At the peak in 2015, Mantua officers wrote over $430,000 in tickets.

That drew the attention of some state senators, who tried to pass a bill the next year that would limit the revenue municipalities could bring in from traffic citations. The bill did not pass and revenues in Mantua have declined since.

Police Chief Michael Castro, who came on last July, told KSL in an email, “We are just like any other police department in the state of Utah and do our very best to keep up with our limited resources. And that doesn’t mean I’m looking to write tickets to get a new car for the PD, pay my salary, or anything else. We write tickets just like any other city or town, we just have a different area and even a different ratio of officers: residents.”

Along with Thursday night’s budget discussion, there was a line on the agenda for a possible change in the salary for the police chief.

Mayor Mike Johnson, who used to double as police chief, said he couldn’t elaborate on the agenda item.

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Mantua Council Examines Budget Shortfall, Connection To Parking Tickets