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Brooksville business owner wants voters to decide on future of red-light cameras

This red-light camera on U.S. 41 near Wiscon Road in Brooksville is one of 16 that have been installed across the city. The vendor is Sensys America.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times (2012)

This red-light camera on U.S. 41 near Wiscon Road in Brooksville is one of 16 that have been installed across the city. The vendor is Sensys America.

BROOKSVILLE — If a downtown business owner has his way, the fate of Brooksville's red-light cameras could end up in the hands of city voters.

Robert Osmond, the owner of Osmond Printing on Main Street, said he is heading up a political action committee that wants to petition the city to allow registered voters living within the city limits to vote in the 2014 general election on whether they want the cameras removed.

Osmond said Monday that he plans to meet with Hernando County Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson on Thursday to discuss the charter revision petition process, which requires obtaining signatures from 10 percent of the registered voters on the rolls in the last election. Brooksville has about 4,770 voters, meaning Osmond would need to collect slightly fewer than 500 signatures to have the question placed on the November 2014 ballot.

The former 2004 City Council candidate is confident he will get the needed signatures.

"People are fed up with the cameras," Osmond said. "They are keeping away visitors and hurting business in Brooksville. The only people I know who still want them are council members who don't seem to care what their constituents want."

Osmond said that he was encouraged to launch the political action committee after speaking with county Commissioner Jim Adkins, a staunch opponent of the cameras who recently led an effort to get the city to remove the cameras on county-owned property, as well as with others who oppose the devices.

Adkins said that although he supports Osmond's efforts, he will not take an active role in the petition drive.

"I'm not a Brooksville resident, but I do represent them as a commissioner," Adkins said. "I think there's strong support for this, based on the number of people who have complained to me about it. Having a referendum puts the question in the hands of the people who live there."

In October 2011, the Brooksville City Council voted 3-2 to reinstate the red-light camera program with Sensys America as its vendor. The company operates 16 cameras in the city.

Florida Department of Revenue data for fiscal 2013 showed the state collected $1,233,546 between July 2012 and June 2013 from Brooksville's red-light cameras, with the city's portion of each $158 fine earning the municipality $557,325. The amount paid to Sensys was also $557,325.

Brooksville Mayor Lara Bradburn said that although she doesn't support removal of the cameras, she had no problem with the petition effort, which ultimately could cost the city a significant amount of revenue.

"I applaud them for wanting to get involved in doing something they feel would help their community," Bradburn said.

The last time the city's charter was changed in an election was in November, when voters approved a measure requiring that council members remain residents of the city during their terms in office.

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Brooksville business owner wants voters to decide on future of red-light cameras 09/03/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:52pm]
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