NEW PORT RICHEY, Florida - City council will discuss disappointing revenue numbers from its red light camera (RLC) safety program and whether it would be better for the city to just scrap the cameras in the next year.
New Port Richey Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips tells 10 News that city staff is looking into its multi-year contract with RLC provider American Traffic Solutions (ATC) to see how difficult it may be to terminate the agreement. He says the city was mislead by ATC on how much revenue the cameras would provide.
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City staff told councilmembers that the 13 cameras up-and-down US-19 only pulled in $1.8 million of the expected $3.2 million in fines this year. Of that sum, almost $1 million went to the state, while ATS collected almost half-million itself. New Port Richey was left with just $350,000 of profit.
And while ATS and numerous elected leaders say the cameras are primarily for safety, New Port Richey is re-examining its program because it may run a defecit next year. Longer yellow lights and better driver awareness of the cameras are expected to reduce revenues even more.
The city's initial budget predicted a 40% drop in RLC revenue from this year, saying even that number is "still volatile."
Other communites are taking hard looks at their RLC programs as well:
- Kenneth City is looking to re-work its contract with ATS because of possible unforseen expenses.
- Tampa and St. Petersburg are both forecasting significant drops in RLC revenue next year.
- The cities of Miami and Davie are both halting RLC tickets for now, until they figure out how to address some of the new tweaks in state RLC laws.
The Florida Department of Transportation ordered all short yellow lights extended by at least 0.4 seconds. While some cities have already made the adjustments, others indicate they will take much of the year to make the changes. FDOT gave cities and counties a deadline of Dec. 31 for any intersection with cameras.
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