Small-town California loses one stop red-light camera

Posted: April 9, 2010 in government spending, government waste, red light cameras

City to remove red-light camera

c/o Daily Journal, San Mateo County

The city of San Carlos will likely remove its single red-light camera because it is losing more than $2,000 each month at the current location and has no other intersections that warrant that type of enforcement, according to officials.

In October, the City Council considered switching the camera at westbound Brittan Avenue and Industrial Road to Holly Street after learning the area had a significant number of violations. But a new traffic signal looping system installed at the site improved traffic flow. A new survey in March showed the violations had been completely eliminated, according to Police Chief Greg Rothaus.

Besides, if the city moves the existing camera, it must extend the current contract with Redflex beyond its Oct. 27, 2011 end date.

With no need for enforcement and no desire to continue a program that loses money, the City Council Monday night will consider giving Redflex, Inc. written notice not to automatically renew the contract.

Currently, the city pays Redflex a fixed fee of $5,870 monthly through November 2010 no matter how many violations occur — a model which lets the city avoid the scrutiny of jurisdictions who pay nothing for their systems but receive revenue exceeding a pre-defined amount.

San Carlos pays another $2,000 in expenses each month used for personnel costs associated with the program, bringing the total annual cost to approximately $94,440.
The city lost approximately $70,000 over the two years, Rothaus told the City Council when the issue first arose in October.

Although the city will benefit by not running an average monthly deficit of $2,213, Assistant City Manager Brian Moura said city officials were swayed more by the lack of need.

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