St. Petersburg decides not to pull plug on red light cameras - WFLA News Channel 8

St. Petersburg decides not to pull plug on red light cameras

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St. Petersburg City Council members decided not to pull the plug on the 22 red light cameras across the city. Council member Wengay Newton made a motion to terminate the contract with ATS, the company that operates city's controversial red light cameras.

Newton put an item on today's agenda to address the latest concerns about the cameras from Clerk of Circuit Court Ken Burke.

Burke said to all municipalities across Pinellas County that, in part, the ticket-issuing program is riddled with "poor communication, insufficient information and... unfair penalties."

Opponents of the program have laid out at least nine problems with it, including yellow light times that are too short.

"It's obvious the system is flawed," said council member Leslie Curran. "It's been flawed from the beginning."

In the meantime, Mayor Bill Foster recently put a moratorium allowing exceptions for those who sign affidavits. That would include people driving rental cars, for example, or car owners who received a ticket after someone else was behind the wheel.

"I decided that it was just patently unfair to not have that ability to issue the notice of violations which is why the city made the decision that it did," Foster said at Thursday's meeting.

He said the city will work with state lawmakers to address the problems the city is seeing. Legally, council members can't make changes in the way the system runs; they can just simply terminate the contract if they see fit, which the majority did not on Thursday.

"This is one of those things that is real simple to fix: Don't run red lights," said council member Jeff Danner.

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