The city of Roseville will now fine hotels for excessive police calls, citing a dramatic surge in the number received.

The City Council unanimously voted in late October to allow the city to charge commercial lodging establishments $250 for each police and building code enforcement "nuisance call" if the number of calls exceed 10 a month. City leaders are also lobbying state lawmakers to allow cities to license hotels directly — rather than relying on local health departments — so they can better address problem properties.

Roseville police responded to 1,465 police calls at the city's 12 hotels last year, up from 867 in 2016, according to the city. Three hotels — Motel 6, Norwood Inn and Key Inn — accounted for more than 1,100 of those calls, said City Manager Patrick Trudgeon.

"We are talking about excessive demands and calls for our police department, terrible conditions in terms of code issues and criminal activity happening on site at those locations that are not under control by any stretch of the imagination," Trudgeon told the council.

City leaders and staff have been wrestling with the issue for several years and have attempted to work with hotel management, Trudgeon said. While staff understand the suburb of 36,000 is a regional shopping, entertainment and business destination, these calls — which range from thefts to fights to suspected drug use — are excessive, he said.

The three hotels either did not return messages or declined to comment. Ramsey County Public Health licenses Roseville hotels.

According to a city report, Motel 6 averaged more than 45 police calls a month last year. That means the motel could be charged nearly $9,000 a month for excessive police services if those numbers persist, Council Member Julie Strahan said during the council meeting.

"It adds up pretty quickly," Trudgeon said.

Council Member Wayne Groff ultimately supported the measure but said he worried that the most affordable hotels would be the hardest hit. He also worried about hotel staff hesitating to call police for drug overdoses and other life-or-death emergencies.

Fining these properties will help the city recover costs for excessive use of services, but the main goal is to improve public safety, Trudgeon said. Under the ordinance, medical emergencies and domestic violence calls are exempted.

"We are not trying to discourage people from reporting dangerous situations or bad behaviors," said Roseville Mayor Dan Roe. "We want to make sure the management and ownership are doing what they can to address these types of behaviors beforehand."

Shannon Prather • 651-925-5037