Home Northwood council tables vote on traffic cameras
Northwood council tables vote on traffic cameras
Written by Kelly Kaczala   
Monday, 20 May 2013 09:20

Northwood City Council on May 9 tabled a vote on whether to renew a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., to continue operating traffic cameras at two intersections.

Council members have already taken positions at recent meetings on the cameras, with four firmly against renewing the contract, and three in favor.

The proposed ordinance to renew the contract has had two readings before council. The third reading and a final vote from council was expected at the May 9 meeting, but Councilman Mike Myers, a supporter of the cameras, was not in attendance. Council President Connie Hughes, also a supporter, asked council to table the measure until the next meeting so Myers could be present to vote.

“I’m going to make a motion that we table this ordinance right now,” said Hughes. “I was asked to do that by Councilman Myers. We are very divided about this and, of course, he’s not here. And he would have been, but he had to go out of town.”

Councilman Dave Gallaher, who supports the cameras, voted against tabling the ordinance.

“I’m not sure we can afford to table things because one council member is out of town,” said Gallaher. “I understand he’d like to be here to discuss it, and I wish he could be. The reason there’s seven of us is so if one or two of us can’t make a meeting, we can still get business done.”

“My only comment is,” said Councilman Randy Kozina, who is opposed to the cameras, but voted to table the measure, “if we do this tonight, this is going to continue until all seven of us are here, correct?”

“Yes,” said Hughes. “I wouldn’t want it any other way, basically because I think it’s the only fair way.”

Councilmen James Barton and Ed Schimmel, who are opposed to the cameras, voted against tabling the ordinance. Councilmen Dean Edwards, also an opponent, voted to table the ordinance.

Mayor Mark Stoner, who backs the cameras, broke the 3-3 tie vote to table and delay a vote on the measure until the next council meeting.

“I see both sides of this,” said Stoner before he cast his tie breaking vote. “In all my years sitting in this seat, I believe if anyone asked for something to be tabled, we’ve approved it. So, under those circumstances, yes.”

Council approved a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., of Arizona, in 2005 to install and operate the automated photo speed and red light enforcement cameras at two intersections: Woodville and Lemoyne roads, and Wales and Oregon roads. The current three year contract with the company expired on April 23.

Fines are $110. Violators do not get points on their licenses.

The city and Redflex share a percentage of the revenue from traffic citations issued as a result of the cameras, which have caught thousands of motorists speeding or going through red lights. Since the cameras were installed, the city has collected a total of $989,699.18 in fines, which are earmarked to fund safety improvement projects, such as the construction of a continuous right turn lane at Oregon and Wales roads.

Opponents of the cameras say they have hurt business, that they are used as a way for the city to increase revenue, and that a higher percentage of fines leave the local economy for Arizona.

Supporters, including Police Chief Tom Cairl, say the cameras are a deterrent to speeding and running red lights, and that revenue from the fines has funded many safety improvement projects in the city.

Cairl also has provided statistics showing the number of accidents have dropped at those intersections since the cameras were installed.

Comments (2)Add Comment
Policing for Profit
posted by Brandt, May 20, 2013
Traffic cameras are just another form of Policing for Profit as Capitalism distorts our Justice System. These companies are bottom-feeders and take a 40% cut of the tickets while creating MORE dangerous intersections by fixing the lengths of yellow lights to entrap drivers. You can read about how private companies and crooked politicians have turned our Police forces on their ear in every attempt to squeeze money out of the general public at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...state.html
Ridiculous Argument
posted by Phil, May 26, 2013
The notion that speed cameras hurt business in Northwood is ridiculous. Poor leadership and lack of economic development hurts the city, not automated speed enforcement. The fact is, we live in a challenging economic time and the cameras bring much needed revenue to the city. Police, fire and government services and personnel have been cut to the bare minimum in recent years and now council wants to remove another source of funding...brilliant. What do you people think will happen when the city has even less money to work with? You already call and complain that police can't come out to every silly call or request, not to mention when something tragic happens and we don't have adequate fire or EMS personnel

More importantly, the cameras slow drivers down and increase safety at a busy intersection that our children have to cross to get to school. The accident rate at the Woodville/Lemoyne intersection has gone down since the cameras were installed, fact! If you don't want a ticket, put your cell phone down, pay attention and SLOW down.

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By: Kelly Kaczala

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