Mesa photo radar losing money! Gotta do something to make revenue! After all it ain't about safety!
Tom Rawles says they ain't cherry picking to raise revenue - “I don’t want to create the impression that the contractor or the city is trying to cherry pick the locations in order to get revenue up"
October 27, 2007 - 7:00AM
Mesa beefs up photo-enforcement agreement
Lindsay Butler, Tribune
Mesa is changing the agreement with its photo enforcement contractor in an effort to catch more lead-footed drivers and recover more money from the program.
The new agreement with American Traffic Solutions will add equipment, require more traffic studies, move four red light cameras and guarantee that 75 percent of photos snapped will result in a citation.
Mesa first contracted with American Traffic Solutions in January 2006, but it wasn’t until March 2007 that the red-light cameras and photo-radar vans were all in place.
Meanwhile, the cameras that were in place haven’t produced the number of citations originally expected.
Between July 2006 and May 2007, Mesa sent out more than 25,000 citations but only collected money on 44 percent.
The result? A loss of roughly $100,000 a month.
The new contract with ATS will help slow the losses, but city officials are quick to remind the public that the program is not meant to generate revenue.
“I don’t want to create the impression that the contractor or the city is trying to cherry pick the locations in order to get revenue up,” said City Councilman Tom Rawles. “We put vans and lights where there is a public-safety hazard.”
Rawles said ATS has been cooperative and appears competent.
“But that doesn’t mean they get carte blanche from now on, either,” he said.
The city also needs more information — like two or three year’s worth — to get an accurate conclusion, Rawles added.
Mesa currently has 34 cameras at 30 intersections.
Seven of those intersections have the capability to catch speeders going through green lights, and two more will come on board soon. The city has four mobile-speed vans.
In the new agreement, ATS will add four speed cameras to intersections at no cost to the city for the next year.
It also will provide 40 violation studies, install speed cameras near Rhodes Junior High and relocate four red light cameras — all at no cost to the city.
“That should bring us up to the point where we’re breaking even,” said traffic Lt. Mario Lattanzio.