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Red-light cameras at 3 Brooksville intersections a step closer to reality

BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville's second foray into the red-light camera business is well under way with the approval of permits to place cameras at three city intersections.

According to Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kris Carson, the city's Miami-based camera vendor, Sensys America Inc., has targeted the intersections of U.S. 41 (Broad Street) and Wiscon Road, the State Road 50 bypass and U.S. 41, and Dr. M.L. King Jr. Boulevard and U.S. 41 for two to four cameras each.

The cameras capture the license tag number and video evidence of any car that runs through a red light.

City Council members approved reinstatement of the camera program last October by a 3-2 vote. Under the agreement, Sensys will begin installing up to 20 cameras in March and will have all operational by May.

City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha said that Sensys has spent several weeks evaluating the city's highest-volume intersections to determine which will receive cameras. Under state law, cameras can only be installed on state right of way.

In addition to the sites already approved, the company wants to install cameras at Cobb Road and Cortez Boulevard, W Jefferson Street and Ponce De Leon Boulevard, and Broad and Main streets. Norman-Vacha said she didn't know the status of permits for those sites.

The three approved sites include two intersections where cameras were placed during the city's previous red-light camera program — Dr. M.L. King Jr. and U.S. 41, and Wiscon and U.S. 41.

Under the terms of the contract, Sensys will receive $90,000 a month — or up to $540,000 in a six-month period. The city keeps any additional profits.

For Sensys and the city to show an even split of the camera profits, each camera would need to capture at least four infractions a day.

From each $158 ticket, the state now takes $83 as its share. The city and the company will split the remaining $75.

If not enough revenue is generated to pay the full $90,000 a month to Sensys, the company would receive no more than 50 percent of what the city garners through the tickets. The remaining balance would be due at a later date.

When Brooksville originally installed cameras in 2008, they proved to be a lucrative revenue source, earning the city about $450,000 annually in the three years they were in operation.

The cameras were removed in 2010 after the city was unable to reach an agreement with its camera vendor on how new state legislation would be applied to the program.

Council members are still unsure of how to spend the city's profits. Some have suggested that the money be donated to driver safety programs while others support using it for capital improvements. The matter is set to be decided later this year at a council workshop.

Norman-Vacha said the city has begun notifying residents about the impending enforcement of the red-light cameras. In addition, the city will place signs at major entrances to the city to alert out-of-town drivers about the cameras.

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

Red-light cameras at 3 Brooksville intersections a step closer to reality 02/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 24, 2012 7:43pm]
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