NEW PORT RICHEY — The city's red light cameras along U.S. 19 will live on for at least another two years.
A year after the City Council teetered on pulling the plug on the program and extended it for just one year on a split vote, there was less debate this week as council members voted 4-1 in favor of a two-year extension. The vote came after a plea by New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart to keep the cameras.
"I do not have the officers to bird dog these intersections," Bogart said.
The city agreed to pay American Traffic Solutions a little more than $21,000 a month to continue operating cameras on U.S. 19 northbound at Trouble Creek Road, northbound at Floramar Terrace, northbound and southbound at Gulf Drive, and on the westbound lanes of Main Street at U.S. 19. ATS agreed to pay the city $3,000 for an educational safety program as part of the contract.
During the 2015-16 fiscal year, the city generated $1.8 million from its red light camera program and paid $427,000 to operate it, according to city budget documents.
Last year, the council extended its contract with ATS for only a year, with council members Chopper Davis and Bill Phillips voting against the extension, citing criticisms over perception and service provided by the company.
At Tuesday night's council meeting, Phillips again voted against continuing the program, saying he still viewed it as putting a negative light on the city. Davis changed his vote, saying that while the program is one of the top things he hears complaints about, the people he hears from have one thing in common.
"I never hear from someone who wants them gone who hasn't gotten a ticket," he said.