Red Light Cams not making villages mo...

Red Light Cams not making villages money...

Posted in the Dolton Forum

5yr Midlo Resident

Since: Apr 09

Midlothian, IL

#1 Jul 20, 2013

Where the red-light green is going in the Southland
BY CASEY TONER [email protected] July 19, 2013 10:04PM

Mounted near traffic signals in scattered locations throughout the Southland, networks of cameras keep a digital eye on busy intersections, catching images of hurried drivers who blow through red lights, all so that traffic citations can be issued.

Known as red-light cameras, the devices are installed and operated by private firms that have contracts with local governments. Under the agreements, the red-light camera companies make their money from monthly service fees and per-ticket fees, and the municipalities can reap the leftover proceeds depending on the number of red-light tickets issued.

However, an analysis of bills and receipts obtained by the SouthtownStar shows it’s not always the case that money makes its way into towns’ coffers.

While some local municipalities with heavy traffic have made millions of dollars, some — such as Palos Heights and Evergreen Park — haven’t seen any money at all.

And Hazel Crest, Orland Park and South Holland have only received a fraction of the red-light camera revenue while red-light camera companies rake in cash through front-loaded contracts that demand thousands of dollars every month in maintenance fees before any money can be paid to the towns.

“You listen to what others were making, and it seemed like a revenue enhancer,” Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton said of the cameras.“It didn’t work that way.”

Evergreen Park entered into a deal with Redflex, an international firm, in 2009. In the three years during which Redflex cameras monitored three intersections, the company made about a half-million dollars from violations in the village.

Evergreen Park didn’t make any money, according to village officials, because of the monthly service fees.

Redflex, which has cameras in nine Southland municipalities, required about $17,500 in monthly fees to operate four red-light cameras there. The contract called for revenue to go to the fees first, and the remainder was to go to Evergreen Park.

But Evergreen Park never collected enough in red-light tickets to see a dime from Redflex, which itself is losing its lucrative contract in Chicago amid allegations it showered more free trips than first believed on a former city official who oversaw the contract.

(Full article too long to post)

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