7/3/2013Florida County Moves To Shut Down Red Light Cameras With Public Vote
Brooksville, Florida faces longer yellows and public vote against red light camera program.
The board of commissioners in Hernando County, Florida has been trying for months to force the city of Brooksville to remove red light cameras from the county's right-of-way. So far, nothing has worked and the county commissioners agreed last week to use the ultimate political persuasion -- a vote of county residents -- to force the issue. Yellow light warning times at the camera intersections were also increased on Thursday.
"The Division of Transportation Services, at the request of the city of Brooksville police chief and at the direction of the Board of County Commissioners, has reevaluated the signal clearance times for the signals located within the city of Brooksville," County Engineer Brian Malmberg wrote in an email to commissioners. "His reevaluation takes into account the FDOT policy revision issued on May 31, 2013 which increased the perception/reaction time used in the ITE formula as well as other information obtained through additional field assessments."
In addition, the commission agreed to work on a proposal to have voters decide during the November 2014 general election whether to block the use of cameras. The vote would not be binding on Brooksville, but it would have persuasive power.
"Shall Hernando County prohibit the use of red light cameras within all incorporated and unincorporated areas of Hernando County?" the proposed referendum, as amended, asks the voters.
The city attorney suggested the advisory nature of the vote would help avoid legal trouble. One members of the public spoke supported the vote but wanted something done before 2014.
"I think we ought to send the city of Brooksville a letter and ask them to remove those cameras from Wiscon and Cobb Road," Commissioner Diane Rowden suggested. "If we write they letter and they remove them, would this be moot?"
Commission chairman Dave Russell said he would absolutely sign such a letter, but he emphasized the power of submitting the issue to the ballot box.
"This gives the public an opportunity to express strategically the outrage that I hear," Russell explained. "Folks are really fired up about this hardly like anything I've seen in the years I've been doing this. The premise behind these red light cameras, I think people are convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that it's more about revenue than safety. I think that is demonstrated by the debacle that occurred in Tallahassee with the right turn on red."
The commission agreed to have staff return with finalized language that would come before a public hearing for approval.
A copy of the unamended draft resolution is available in a 550k PDF file at the source link below.