.

County to Add More Speed, Red Light Cameras

Proposed contract adds seven new speed cameras and seven new redlight cameras and would pay ACS State and Local Solutions up to $9.1 million over seven years.

Updated(8:25 a.m.)—Baltimore County will add seven new speed cameras and seven new red light cameras under the terms of a proposed contract to be discussed on Tuesday.

The contract with ACS State and Local Solutions would add the cameras within five months of approval of the contract by the County Council, according to notes on the contract prepared by the county auditor's office.

Currently, the county has 15 speed cameras installed in school zones around the county. Last year the council removed the cap on the number of cameras that could be installed.

The county also has eight red light cameras in intersections around the county. There is no limit to the number of red light cameras that can be installed. The county had nearly two dozen when the program began in the 1990s.

Under the terms of the contract which covers 37 total cameras, ACS State and Local Solutions would be paid about $6.2 million for the cameras over the initial five-year term. The contract contains two additional one-year extensions.

Over the life of the full seven years, ACS State and Local Solutions could receive more than $9.1 million.

In return, the company agrees to:

  • Complete site evaluations on 15 red light camera locations as well as 60 possible speed camera sites.
  • Install the initial 14 cameras within 5 months of contract approval.
  • The total number of new cameras over the initial term of the contract is capped at 18 cameras.

Speed cameras in Baltimore County are restricted to school zones. Drivers who exceed the posted speed limit by more than 12 mph are issued a $40 ticket with no points.

Red light camera violations carry a $75 fine.

Last year Patch reported that ACS State and Local Solutions received nearly 90 cents of every dollar in speed camera fines that the county collects.

The county estimates that the new contract will generate nearly $1.2 million in fines paid. ACS State and Local Solutions will be paid nearly $19 per citation paid. The county estimates the program will cost about $1.1 million annually over the first five years of the contract, based on 55,440 paid tickets.

Last year the county collected nearly $3.2 million in speed camera fines. ACS State and Local Solutions was paid nearly $3.1 million. The county kept more than $184,000 that went to the general fund.

The county is still owed nearly $1.3 million in fines from 31,798 outstanding citations.

The county expects to generate about $97,000 in red light camera violations. Of that, about $69,000 will be paid to ACS State and Local Solutions. The estimate is based on the expectation that the county will be paid for more than 2,200 tickets, according to the auditor's note.

Most councilmembers were not immediately available to comment on the contract.

David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, said the contract should be closely examined.

"I voted against the speed camera bill, but it's now the law and I recognize the county has a right to implement the program," said Marks. "Still, the council should scrutinize the contract.  Questions have been raised about the revenue the contractor receives, and I really don't like waiting until 2017 to decide whether or not to renew the contract once we approve it. "

Buzz Beeler January 08, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Buck, the taxpayers. The revenues are generally earmarked for numerous projects until budget shortfalls get in the way and then it's - helter skelter!
K Blue January 08, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Buck, I believe that the individuals paying the tickets are the ones that collectively pay for the program ideally. The question is whether there will come a point in time that the money collected by the County is insufficient to pay the contractor plus the actual costs to the County which include paying dedicated officers to oversee this program. Under the old contract, the contractor got a fixed amount per camera (regardless of how many tickets were issued and collected) plus a large percentage of the ticket amount. In my opinion, that raised the issue that the program (if it worked the way it was designed to and decrease speeding, thus decreasing tickets over time and collections) would eventually become cost-prohibitive and the County would be owing money. I am curious to know the fixed cost per camera owed to the contractor under the new contract and whether it increased, decreased or remained substantially unchanged.
Tom Sharp January 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Funny how no matter where these speed camera companies go, council members and mayors always seem to end up in jail.
Jennifer January 14, 2012 at 03:27 PM
These cameras never seem to be placed in wealthy areas. However, if I was going to place one, it would be on Parker's Farm Road in New Town.
farmer bob July 18, 2012 at 02:52 PM
If you lived on jarrettsville pike,dulaney valley, or glenarm rd. you would not be opposed to speed cameras. It seems that those who are opposed to the cameras live in a cul-de-sac. 7 deaths in this area in the last 2 months. Give points and lower fines enough to cover costs would be more of a deterent and make cameras mobile

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