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Tie vote on red light cameras sends issue to Tampa's newly elected City Council

TAMPA — A tie vote on whether to install red-light cameras at Tampa's most dangerous intersections is sending the issue to the newly elected City Council.

Council members deadlocked Thursday on a proposed contract to hire American Traffic Solutions of Scottsdale, Ariz., to install surveillance cameras at up to 20 intersections around the city.

Police say the cameras would make the city safer, because research shows that red-light cameras prompt motorists to drive more carefully not only at the monitored intersections, but at other intersections throughout the communities that use them.

"Our motive is public safety," Assistant Chief John Bennett told council members.

City officials say it's not possible to predict how much revenue the cameras would generate for the city because they wouldn't know how many intersections would be covered until after the company is hired and does a survey of city intersections.

Violations would carry fines of $158, with $75 going to the city's general fund, which supports the police and fire departments.

That gave several council members pause. Council member Charlie Miranda said he could support the proposal if the money were earmarked for intersection improvements.

Council member Curtis Stokes noted that many of the intersections identified by the city as most prone to crashes caused by red light violations are in the inner city. Installing cameras at those intersections would impose additional costs on residents of those areas, he said.

Council members tied 3-3 on the proposal, with Miranda, Stokes and Mary Mulhern voting no. Chairman Thomas Scott left the meeting ill before the vote.

Under the council's rules, that automatically carries the issue to the next regular council meeting on April 7, when the council with its new members will have been sworn in.

By then, Stokes, Scott, Gwen Miller and Joseph Caetano will have completed their terms and left. The new council members will be Harry Cohen, Mike Suarez, Frank Reddick and Lisa Montelione.

Tie vote on red light cameras sends issue to Tampa's newly elected City Council 03/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 24, 2011 11:59pm]
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