8/20/2006Texas City Approves Traffic Cameras Before Establishing Need
The city council in Balcones Heights, Texas approved a red light camera program without establishing any need beyond balancing the city budget.
The city of Balcones Heights, Texas last Monday approved an ordinance allowing the installation of red light cameras before it had established that such a system was necessary for traffic safety reasons. Council members in the San Antonio suburb of 3000 residents voted 4-0 to approve a contract with camera vendor ATS to operate all aspects of the ticketing system, but they added a clause that gives the city the choice of dropping the contract if the company does not produce a survey showing the system is not just about raising revenue.
"You need to be able to show that you're not doing it for money purposes, you're doing it specifically for safety purposes," City Attorney Frank Garza told the San Antonio Express-News.
ATS will have the survey done in a week and the set of four cameras installed within two or three months. The city council approved the measure without opening the issue to substantial public debate.