BROOKSVILLE — Drivers, take note. Red-light cameras are back.
On Thursday, two cameras mounted north and south of the intersection of U.S. 41 and Wiscon Road began recording photos and videos of any vehicles that fail to stop for the red light.
Once the video and photos are analyzed, violators will be ticketed $158. In coming weeks, additional cameras will be going up at two more intersections — U.S. 41 and State Road 50, and U.S. 41 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The cameras were originally scheduled to be installed by Miami-based Sensys America in March. However, Brooksville police Chief George Turner said that delays in Department of Transportation permitting and troubles running underground power conduits contributed to the delay.
"You're always at the mercy of outside forces," Turner said. "But from what I'm told, they are back on track now."
The red-light program is pretty much a repeat of an effort first launched in 2009 in an attempt to make city intersections safer by fining drivers who ran red lights. Often derided as a "money grab" by critics, the program proved to be an instant success financially. Between November 2009 and April 2010, the city issued 5,477 red-light camera citations, earning the city $465,545 in revenue.
However, the new deal, which was approved in October, might not be as lucrative. With new state laws in place, the state is slated to receive $83 of the $158 fee. The remaining $75 will be split between the city and Sensys. Additionally, drivers making slow right-hand turns on red will not be ticketed.
Brooksville Police Capt. Rick Hankins said the first camera violations could be reviewed as early as Monday. As before, all videos and still photos of suspected violations will be reviewed first by a Sensys employee and then sent to the Police Department for review. Once a violation is determined, the owner of the vehicle will receive a civil citation. The infraction carries no points on the vehicle owner's drivers license.
Under the agreement, Sensys will receive $90,000 a month if all projections are met for its 20 cameras. City officials could expect the $158 tickets to bring in an additional $2.6 million in revenue, with the city keeping $602,721 after expenses.
If not enough ticket revenue is generated to pay the full $90,000 a month, Sensys would receive no more than 50 percent of what the city garners through red light camera tickets. The remaining balance would be due on a later date.
The locations for the remaining 14 red-light cameras in the city have yet to determined.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.