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Almond: Council Interested in Speed Camera Contract Details

New council chairwoman says she and her colleagues have questions about contract with ACS State and Local Solutions.

Vicki Almond, the newly-elected chairwoman of the Baltimore County Council, said Saturday that she and her colleagues have questions about a proposed speed camera contract with ACS State and Local Solutions.

Almond, speaking on the C4 Show on WBAL 1090 AM, said she and some other council members were interested in how much the contractor will be paid.

"I do think we will be asking those questions," said Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat.

The would add seven new speed cameras to the current 15 and seven new red light cameras to the current eight within five months of council approval.

The county could also add an additional four cameras in the first five-year term of the contract.

The contractor would be paid about $6.2 million in the first five years. Two additional one-year extensions could bring the total compensation to about $9.1 million.

Currently, the company supplies the 15 cameras in the county and is paid about $12,000 per camera per month.

Councilmen Todd Huff and David Marks, Republicans from Timonium and Perry Hall respectively, said earlier this week that they were also concerned about the payments made to the contractor. Both have opposed speed cameras in the past.

Almond, who supported a bill last year that eliminated the cap on the number of speed cameras that could be placed in school zones in the county, said she defers to county police Chief Jim Johnson on whether or not the cameras are necessary and effective. She said, however, that as a former community activist she understands the concerns of residents who call and email her office opposing the program.

She said if she were not in office "I'd probably be one of those people out there asking the same questions" but that her position on the council has given her "a different perspective."

Similar to other council members, Almond said news of the contract caught her by surprise.

"We're waiting for a briefing," said Almond. "Before we tackle this issue, we want to be well informed."

"This is a very contentious program and one not easy to deal with," said Almond.

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John Dingedahl January 08, 2012 at 05:24 PM
This is just another example of the liberal party in power in the council. Just like congress in the past (health care) you have to pass the bill to understand whats in it. The terms of this contract should not have been a suprise if the proper vetting had been done and the county taken to the cleaners on the revenue generated by the cameras.
Tim January 09, 2012 at 02:29 PM
John, if you take the 'liberal' part out of your commentary, I'd agree with it 100%. This has nothing to do with party, and all about palm greasing which happens unilaterally in government.
Buzz Beeler January 10, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Tim, speaking of greasing palms, come to Dundalk and see what is being proposed. How's that song go - "slip sliding away!"
Buzz Beeler January 11, 2012 at 03:38 AM
The council seems to be missing a very important component of this equation, commonly know as the law, or more specifically the County Charter. http://www.beefbaltimore.org/procurement.pdf the County Charter. The answer is found on page 7; anything over $25,000 must be sent out on a bid. Read this quote from the story: "have questions about a proposed speed camera contract with ACS State and Local Solutions." The key word here is - proposed - which would require a bid based on the amount and it's not part of an existing contract.
kevin January 11, 2012 at 05:11 PM
There is a list of the top lobbyists in Sun today , How many are representing this camera firm? Isn't this a no bid contract ? just pondering

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