Baltimore Co. could add 14 new traffic cameras this year

Council to weigh additions at next meeting

January 05, 2012|By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s administration is asking County Council members to approve a contract that would allow up to 14 new speed and red-light cameras to be installed this year.

Council members are set to review the proposed contract with ACS State & Local Solutions -- whose current contract expires in February -- at a work session scheduled for Tuesday.

Under the new contract, the county could add seven speed cameras and seven red-light cameras later this year, bringing the total to 37. Over the next seven years, the county could continue to grow the program, according to documents provided to the council

“Any expansion beyond … 37 combined red light and speed cameras is capped at 18,” a legislative filing reads.

County police would determine locations for the cameras, as they have done since the county first installed the devices in 2010.

Details of the contract were included in a notes package sent Thursday to council members, who must approve the proposed agreement. According to the document, ACS could be compensated more than $9.1 million over seven years. The company was the only one to bid on the contract.

The proposed ACS contract has an initial five-year term, with two one-year renewal options.

The number of speed cameras in the county had been limited to 15, but last year, the County Council voted along party lines to allow an unlimited number in school zones.

Under ACS’s current contract, which the council approved in November 2009, the county operates 15 speed cameras and eight red-light cameras.

The proposed contract would increase that to 22 speed cameras and 15 red-light cameras this year.

The county pays nearly $12,000 per speed camera per month. The county owns the red-light cameras, and ACS does not charge for processing those citations.

Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican who opposed expanding the speed camera program, predicted Thursday that council members would have many questions about the contract.

“There’s been concern that the contractor is getting such a large share of the revenue from these cameras,” he said Thursday.

The speed cameras are activated when a driver goes 12 mph or more above the speed limit. Violators get a $40 ticket. Drivers who run red lights are fined $75.

Under the proposed contract, ACS would be paid $29.34 for citations issued through existing red light cameras; $35.50 for new red light cameras; and $18.95 for speed cameras.

Violators owe the county $1.27 million in outstanding citations, the analysis states.

A contract summary submitted by the county’s finance office says that the cameras have reduced speeding in school zones and garnered positive feedback from communities where cameras are located.

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