Northwood City Council has given a first reading to renew its contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc, that would continue its automated photo speed and photo red light enforcement program.
The city had been negotiating with Redflex Safety Solutions, of Arizona, for the past year to renew its contract to continue operating its stationary speed and red light photo enforcement cameras that have been installed at the intersections of Lemoyne and Woodville roads and Oregon and Wales roads, which have a high incidence of speeding, since 2005. The cameras target motorists who speed and run red lights, then Redflex issues citations.
Northwood discontinued Redflex’s speed van, a mobile vehicle that issued citations to motorists for speeding, late last year.
Negotiations had broken down last year because Redflex wanted to charge more for the cameras once the van was discontinued.
The revenue funds public safety improvements in the city, including a continuous right turn on Wales Road and flashing lights at Lark school. Also, funding was used to bring back a laid off police officer last year.
According to the new three year contract, Redflex will provide a larger share of revenue collected for each citation that is issued, said Mayor Mark Stoner, and enforcing the reduced 20 mile per hour speed limit in school zones.
“We still get motorists during school hours going through the school zone at Woodville Road and Lallendorf roads at 48 miles per hour,” said Stoner. “That’s exceeding the 35 mile per hour limit that’s in force when it’s not school time.”
At a council meeting Feb. 25, Councilman Dave Gallaher wanted more discussion on the measure before final passage.
Gallaher said after the meeting that he wanted the measure tabled.
“I’m not really happy about the contract at all, only because it’s such a drain on the economy. It takes money out of the local economy. And Redflex is doing very, very well for itself,” he said.
In addition, he said the revenue has not been solely earmarked for public safety improvements, as it was originally intended.
“The Redflex money should go back to engineering, like the turn lanes we put in at the Oregon and Wales intersection. Some of that Redflex money went toward a tornado siren, which wasn’t traffic safety related, though it was certainly safety related. I think it should go back to committee to get some discussion. I wouldn’t want it to be forced to a vote without discussion. In the financial situation the city is in right now, I’m afraid it’s going to be about money. I’m on the record several times pushing for using that money for engineering, for safety. I’ve really kind of watched that in the past. When we did lose an officer, I thought if we could keep an officer in the city for a year using that Redflex money. I’m all for it. I thought it was the best use of the money at the time. Now we’re back in a tight spot again,” said Gallaher.