PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- The City of Plattsburgh, N.Y., has a problem. Some people apparently think it's a public restroom.
Plattsburgh City Police told NewsChannel 5 public urination is an increasing epidemic in the city. They said it happens all the time throughout city streets, especially in the early morning hours after the local bars close.
Plattsburgh police Lt. Scott Beebie said the most common urination sites are located around downtown business -- particularly on Protection Avenue -- but also throughout downtown public parking lots.
He said people are even caught relieving themselves in the doorways of closed businesses.
Currently, the city follows New York State law and charges violators with disorderly conduct if they are found urinating in public.
But Beebie said disorderly conduct is a violation, and not a stiff enough penalty. "It's not a crime. You cannot get a permanent record for it, but you do subject yourself to confinement and a fine," Beebie said.
And the Plattsburgh City Council decided Thursday night that they should be able to keep the fines paid by people peeing in public.
But Thursday night the City Council voted yes to make disorderly conduct a local law.
"What it does is instead of sending 95 percent of the fine to the state ... we now keep 95 percent of the fine and send 5 percent to the state," City Councilor Chris Jackson said.
Under the new law, money from those urinating in public stays in the city's pocket and goes into the general fund.
"Nothing's changed. The actual wording of the law is no different than it was yesterday, so it's just a matter of keeping money here in the city," said Jackson.
The law will not take effect until is is approval by Mayor Donald Kasprzak and filed with the Secretary of State.