Automated photo speed and red light enforcement traffic cameras at two intersections in Northwood have been deactivated.
“I’m convinced that there are still four votes on council against renewing the contract for the traffic cameras. They are not wavering,” City Administrator Bob Anderson said of city council last week.
Since the city’s three year contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., expired on April 23, Anderson said there is no reason for the cameras to continue catching motorists speeding or running red lights. The strobe lights emitted by the cameras, which caused speeding motorists to cringe as they crossed the intersections, are no more.
“We don’t have a contract now, the system is not operating,” said Anderson.
City council on May 9 tabled the vote on whether to renew the city’s contract with Redflex to continue operating the cameras because council wanted all seven members to be present to vote on the measure, and Councilman Mike Myers was not in attendance. At subsequent meetings, there was at least one council member missing. At the most recent council meeting on June 13, several members did not attend.
“We, in essence, by putting it off, have made a decision,” Anderson said. “So whether they just don’t sign a contract and keep it tabled forever, or vote not to renew the contract, the result is the same: The red light traffic cameras are not operating.”
Anderson said he told Police Chief Tom Cairl to inform the company following the expiration of the contract that the cameras were to issue “no more tickets.”
“There will never be a ticket issued from the time that contract expired. The contract ended, and it wasn’t fair when we knew the vote on council to renew the contract was 4-3 against. I knew the sentiment. Council has spoken, basically. I’m in favor of the cameras. But I just don’t think it was the right thing to do, as the public safety director, to operate it while we don’t have a contract,” said Anderson.
Council had been debating the issue for the last several months. Council members James Barton, Dean Edwards, Ed Schimmel, and Randy Kozina continue to be firmly opposed to renewing the contract. Council members in favor of renewing the contract are Connie Hughes, Dave Gallaher, and Myers.
Council approved a contract with Redflex in 2005 to install and operate the cameras at the intersections of Woodville and Lemoyne roads, and Wales and Oregon roads.
The city and Redflex, located in Arizona, shared 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 they were installed.
Fines were $110. Violators did not get points on their licenses.
Since the cameras were installed, the city collected a total of $989,699.18 in fines, which were 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 said they have hurt business, that they were used as a way for the city to increase revenue, and that a higher percentage of fines left the local economy for Arizona.
Supporters, including Mayor Mark Stoner and Cairl, said the cameras were a deterrent to speeding and running red lights, and that revenue from the fines had funded many safety improvement projects in the city that would have otherwise not been made.
Cairl had also provided statistics to council that showed there were fewer accidents at those intersections since the cameras were installed.