The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 17, 2012

Many traffic camera offenders not paying

Ashtabula is losing out on more than $135,000 in fines

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — The city is losing out on more than $135,000 in potential revenue from its traffic camera program because motorists who got citations haven’t paid their fines, Chief Robert Stell said.

City Council approved an ordinance Monday night authorizing the city manager to contract with Capital Recovery Systems to collect unpaid traffic camera program civil penalties.

The one-year contract will automatically renew each year unless either party gives 30 days notice prior to the renewal date as a result of all work is completed or as a result of Capitals failure to perform its obligation.

Capital will be compensated for services only when a payment amount is collected on an account assigned by client to Capital. The fee will be added to the balance of each account.

Voters rejected the red-light cameras last November.

Garnering 61 percent of the vote, the anti-camera issue passed 2,831 to 1,834, according to the Ashtabula County Board of Elections. That meant in order for the police department to continue using the cameras it would have had to place a police officer at every photo enforcement location.

Stell said there was no need for a camera if an officer is on site.

Revenue from the cameras did pay for safety equipment for officers.

While in use, if the traffic enforcement cameras caught a motorist, the violator received a ticket in the mail with two photographs: the back license plate and the vehicle traveling through the intersection. The fine was $100, and no points went on the violator’s driving record.

The camera company got $33 of every $100 fine collected, the city the rest.