Brownwood City Council members tabled a decision Tuesday on installing cameras at intersections to photograph license plates of red-light runners.
The council could have approved an agreement with one of three companies, approved through purchasing cooperatives, to install the cameras. The company would not charge the city for installing the cameras but would receive a portion of fines collected.
Councilmen Darrell Haynes and Dave Fair expressed concerns about the idea, and the council unanimously approved Haynes’ motion to table the action.
Haynes said there are “too many unanswered questions” about the cameras and said the city would have to straighten out issues such as a vehicle owner receiving a ticket when the owner was not the driver of the vehicle involved in a violation Fair said, “I’ve wrestled with this. At first blush it looks good but not foolproof. … I have a problem paying a commission on a law enforcement issue, and basically that’s what we’re doing.”
Assistant Police Chief Garry Page told council members in a memo that “the violation level on red lights is high in the city and is causing accidents. The cameras in other cities has cut red light violations by over 50 percent or better.
“ … This is a good program for the city because it will reduce the accident rate and could prevent a fatal accident, and the city will also have more money going into the general fund, and this program will not require a police officer to monitor the red lights.”
The city will not pay for the camera installations, but the company installing the systems receives a portion of fines violators pay based on a contract rate for a five-year contract, council members were told.
Council members watched a video of a May 2007 news report from El Paso. A police sergeant said on the news report that cameras at intersections had reduced red-light violations and collisions.
But council members noted that “googling” the topic on the Internet brings up information about problems associated with the cameras. Several Web sites have articles arguing that accident rates actually go up at camera-equipped intersections.
In other business, council members approved an agreement with a developer to construct a 15,000-square-foot Walgreen’s and a 4,000-square-foot Arby’s restaurant at the corner of Main and Commerce.
The agreement is between the city, the Brownwood Economic Development Corp. and WG-Brownwood 07, a limited partnership of the OMNI Group of Fort Worth.
The development will be adjacent to an extension of McCulley Street that will run from Romines to Main.
According to the agreement, the developer will build the extension, and the BEDC will reimburse the developer $300,000 after the extension is built.
Council members earlier approved a resolution that authorizes the city to pass on $107,943 to TxDOT to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Main and the McCulley Street extension. The developer will actually bear the cost of the traffic light and will pay the money to the city, council members were told.
Council members earlier awarded a bid for the exchange of city-owned property that will provide right-of-way for the McCulley Street extension. It will provide a parallel route to West Commerce between Romines and North Main.
The council approved an exchange between the city property, at 501 E. Commerce, and Sandy Neal Enterprises, 416 N. Main. The business will pay the city $60,000 for the difference in value between the two properties.
In other business, council members:
Heard businessman Al Faetche ask council members to allocate more money for street paving than the $400,000 included in the budget proposed for the new fiscal year. Approved an ordinance on second and third readings to close an alley adjacent to 1401 Main. Approved a request for barricades and street closures for Reunion celebration, walkers route, 5K run route and Feels Like Home Parade route. Amended the agreement between South Hampton and the City of Brownwood to reduce the number of required homes to be constructed from 30 to 29, with the sales offices occupying the 30th lot of Phase One. Awarded a bid of $5,121 to Roy McBride for the purchase of city owned property at 3105 Fourth.