Red Light Cameras: Not The Promised Cash Cow

PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – Pembroke Pines city leaders have found out that red light cameras set up at four intersections throughout the city aren’t the cash cow they originally thought they would be.

From July 2010 to January 2011, more than 15-hundred tickets were issued generating just over $76-thousand, according to a memo sent to the city commission by the city’s attorney. For each $158 ticket issued to drivers caught on camera running a red light, the city receives $75 if the driver pays.

However, when you take into the account the what it costs to run the program; legal fees, city employee time and payments to American Traffic Solutions which operates the camera program, the city ended up in the red. During the six month period the program cost the city just over $83-thousand to run, according to The Sun Sentinel.

Pembroke Pines assistant city attorney Mike Cirrullo said legal fees alone cost the city more than $33-thousand since Broward County requires them to supply legal council. However, that changed on February 1st when the cases were moved to traffic court.

During Wednesday’s commission meeting, some of the commissioners said since ATS was responsible for collecting the money, it should help defray the city’s legal costs. Other commissioners said the city should reconsider installing an additional 21 cameras or move the current cameras to intersections where there may be more violations. Another idea was to reconsider their contract with ATAS. All of these ideas will be discussed when they meet in April.

Pembroke Pines is not the only city let down by the cameras revenue generating potential.

When Ft. Lauderdale installed their cameras they had expected to collect nearly $3 million in fines per year by ticketing 250 drivers a day. The reality was much different. Since the start of the program, they’ve only ticketed about 15 drivers a day, making only about half a million in revenue.

In approving the cameras, the city commission had counted on the additional revenue to avoid a tax increase or employee layoffs. Now they’re asking for regular updates to see if they will have to adjust their spending.

Source: The Sun-Sentinel


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