By: Sharon Aron Baron
The City of Margate will not be renewing their contract for their red light cameras after their contract expires in December according to Mayor Lesa Peerman.
“I didn’t see the safety issue, or accidents going down because of them…that was the whole idea, because of safety,” said Peerman. “If anything, I believe people are slamming on the brakes more.”
Two years ago, they discussed having the two cameras removed from their locations on at Atlantic and 441 and Margate Blvd and 441, but at the time, and due to a clause in the contract with American Traffic Solution, they would have paid a penalty.
According to Peerman, Vice Mayor Joanne Simone who wasn’t a supporter of the cameras, even before she was elected, asked the city manager bring forward data to Wednesday night’s meeting to see how they were performing.
City Manager Jerry A. Blough, provided details for the commission to review before their vote.
In a Six Month Study:
2011 –Crashes – 51 Violations 5165
2012 -Crashes – 38 Violations 4150
2013 – Crashes – 34 Violations 4142
Peerman not only didn’t see enough changes in crashes, or red light runners to justify having the cameras, but the staffing considerations for the city did not make them cost-effective.
The City needed to provide two full-time Community Service Aides to administer the daily operations of the red light camera program, one Police Supervisor and one Master Police Officer to handle the supervisor review and administrative responsibilities in addition to their daily assigned tasks.
They also needed additional personel from the Finance Department, the City Clerk’s Office, and from the City Attorney’s Office as well as a Judge Magistrate to hear court cases from those that contested their tickets.
Both Peerman and Simone along with Commissioner Tommy Ruzzano voted to end the contract in December. Commissioners Frank Talerico and Brian Donahue were against removing them.
The cameras will still be fully operational until December.
“I don’t run red light it’s never been an issue with me…good bad or indifferent,” said Peerman. “It was a tool to see if we could stop people from running red light. I don’t know if we did that much changing. People that are going to run red lights, are going to run red lights.”