Tampa, Florida – Mayor Bob Buckhorn is presenting his proposed 2014-2015 budget to city council today, which will include a dwindling amount of red light camera (RLC) revenue.
City staff initially projected $5.4 million from RLC in fiscal year 2013-2014, but revised estimates down to $3.4 million in July 2013. Those estimates have now been dropped to just $600,000. In March, 10 Investigates showed how longer yellow lights were responsible for the drastic drop.
Next budget year, 2014-2015, city staff predicts just $500,000 in revenues from red light camera programs, although 10 Investigates has reported the number is likely to drop since the city decided to renew its contract with American Traffic Solutions without renegotiating its $45,000-per-year fee per camera.
Tampa brought in more than $2 million in RLC revenue during the first year of its program, 2011-2012. But despite the addition of cameras every few months, revenues slipped in 2012-2013 and plummeted in 2013-2014, when the state responded to 10 Investigates stories by mandating longer yellow lights across Florida. Tampa now has 55 monitored intersections, the most in the region.
Mayor Buckhorn and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor have been quick to point out the falling revenues are a sign drivers are adjusting their behavior, and hesistant to acknowledge short yellow lights may have played a role in the huge number of tickets written in the program's first two years.
For the first time in five years, the city will not rely on reserves to balance its budget. Following today's presentation at city council, citizens will get a chance to provide input at a pair of budget forums expected in September.