7/31/2007Illinois: City Approves Reverse Red Light Camera Contract
Red light camera vendor to pay Tinley Park, Illinois for the right to issue as many tickets as possible.
More and more cities that allow red light cameras to operate are adopting "flat-rate" contracts as a means of compensating the private companies that run the ticketing programs. States such as California and Virginia have passed statues specifically banning the earlier practice -- still common in many states -- of paying these companies on a per-ticket basis because of the conflict of interest that it creates. Under a typical flat-rate contract arrangement, a company collects a monthly fee, such as $5000 per intersection, in return for which it will operate every aspect of ticketing operations.
The village of Tinley Park, Illinois earlier this month gave the first element in a series of required approvals to a contract that stands the concept of flat rate on its head. Instead of the city paying Australian camera vendor Redflex a fee for its services, Redflex will pay Tinley Park a flat-rate fee for the right to issue as many automated tickets as it is able to muster. Redflex would retain all of the profit from the tickets it issues. The arrangement ensures a steady stream of revenue without any financial risk to the village.
Like most municipalities that operate camera programs, Tinley Park officials assert that a police officer will review every citation before it is issued. Court testimony and other evidence has proved in Arizona, California, Ohio and Canada that little or no review is actually performed once programs are operational.
The village board is expected to approve the contract at a meeting next month.