1/19/2006Girard, Ohio Mayor Wants Cameras Not Cops
The mayor of Girard, Ohio argues that cameras are better than cops because automated ticketing is key to reducing the city budget deficit.
Girard, Ohio Mayor James Melfi told city council members that he wants to keep the city's speed camera instead of hiring a new police officer because the camera brings in more money. A majority of newly elected city council members have been pushing to have the cameras removed since taking office earlier this month.
Melfi explained the true purpose of the speed camera was to reduce the city's budget deficit that had been $1.15 million in 2004 and narrowed to $440,000 last year. Since July, the speed camera was responsible for generating $85,000 in revenue. A human police officer, however, would cost $60,000 and would be required to issue 1500 tickets a year just to cover his salary.
Councilman Tom Seidler, a camera opponent, countered with evidence that an additional police officer could save a substantial portion of the $150,000 in overtime the police department paid last year.