Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Brooksville council to consider options for future of red-light cameras

BROOKSVILLE — For months, questions have been mounting about the city's red-light cameras. And many of those queries have come from the governing body that voted to implement the traffic enforcement program.

On Monday, Brooksville City Council members will begin to explore options for the program, which is up for renewal in October. They will be presented with five scenarios, which include allowing the current contract to expire, keeping the system in place using upgraded technology, and modifying the rules for some enforcement aspects.

Throughout their existence in the city, the cameras have drawn fire from a number of parties, including residents and business owners who say the devices deter visitors.

Meanwhile, a group of residents is seeking to put the question of whether to keep the cameras on this year's election ballot.

The cameras have even faced scrutiny from two Hernando County judges, who have thrown out some cases because they say the state law governing them is constitutionally unclear.

In a memo to council members, assistant city attorney Cliff Taylor cautions that prematurely terminating the agreement with the camera vendor, Sensys America, could create problems and result in the city having to pay damages to the company. That is why council members will be given several options, each of which could have a positive or negative impact on the city's budget.

Perhaps the simplest and least costly of the options would be to allow the city's contract with Sensys to expire on its Oct. 3 termination date. In doing so, each of the cameras would remain active until the third anniversary of its operational date.

Should council members decide they want to keep the program going, two options exist.

One would allow for a free upgrade to an infrared system that would eliminate periodic strobe flashes that some drivers say are distracting. While Sensys would pay for the upgrades, doing so would extend the city's contract by three years. Another option would shift the cost of any camera upgrades to the city at a rate of $7,900 per system, but allow the time clock on the cameras to run out normally.

Also up for discussion will be the possibility of raising the allowable speed for a rolling right-hand turn.

Although the state law governing red-light cameras does not determine a speed, a city ordinance allows for a speed of 5 mph.

City attorneys warn that changing the limit could be seen as breach of contract by Sensys because the allowable speed for right-hand turns was established when the contract went into effect.

Joe Bernardini, one of three City Council members who will depart the council after November's election, said he hopes the council can agree whether to keep the cameras well before the city's contract expires in October.

"I don't think this is something we should be sticking to the new people," said Bernardini, who has never supported the red-light camera program. "Now it's become a legal matter with a lot of questions. I hope we can find the answers real soon."

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

Comments
Ice cream man granted bail after lawyer notes weaknesses in 2010 Ruskin murder case

Ice cream man granted bail after lawyer notes weaknesses in 2010 Ruskin murder case

TAMPA — Michael Edward Keetley has spent the last 2,756 days in the Falkenburg Road Jail awaiting trial — and a possible death sentence if convicted — for a Ruskin shooting spree that killed two men.Now he might go home.A judge this week approved Kee...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

More than 2,000 Duke Energy customers are without power after a cluster of storms rolled through earlier this afternoon, according to Duke Energy.The area without power stretches along 62nd Avenue N from 12th Street N to 30th Way N, according to the ...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Police release video of car that killed woman, 58, in Tampa hit and run

Police release video of car that killed woman, 58, in Tampa hit and run

Times staffTAMPA — Police have identified Sally Ann McClellan Webb, 58, as the pedestrian killed when a vehicle ran into her Sunday night as she was crossing N Nebraska Ave at Linebaugh Ave.The collision occurred about 9:15 a.m. as the victim stepped...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump threatens more China tariffs

Trump threatens more China tariffs

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has directed the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports as the two nations move closer to a trade war.In response, China threatened what it called "comprehensive measure...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, while Willy Adames is on the bench so Adeiny Hechavarria can play short in potentially a showcase for teams the Rays may hope to interest in a trade.Here is the Rays lineup:Ki...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees — more than 700 at last count — to march in Florida’s largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Port Richey council moves closer to minimum housing standards ordinance

PORT RICHEY — In a narrow vote, Port Richey took another step toward enacting an ordinance that will create minimum housing standards in the city. Port Richey City Council members approved in a split vote last week the first reading of an ordinance d...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Largo High defensive back Solomon Brown had plenty of college options with offers from 20 Division I-A schools. Still, the three-star recruit did not need to go through a prolonged process to figure out where he wanted to go.Two weeks ago, Brown comm...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago