Say Cheese: Traffic cameras to remain in Red Bank - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Say Cheese: Traffic cameras to remain in Red Bank

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Story by Greg Glover
Eyewitness News Anchor

RED BANK, TN. (WRCB)-- Red Bank won't be buying its way out of a contract with American Traffic Solutions. That means, like them or not, those red light cameras may be around for a while.

"That's a big talk at the Waffle House over their coffee, complaining about the speeding cameras in the mornings," says Rhonda Baldwin, Waffle House employee.

Those controversial speed and red light cameras are set up at the intersection of Signal Mountain and Dayton Boulevards. And they may not be coming down anytime soon.

They are the target of much debate since Red Bank started installing them at the end of 2005.

They've been deemed as revenue generators, blamed for the sluggish economy, and also praised for preventing accidents, city-wide.

"There has not been a decrease in accidents. I don't know what the statistics are, but again, we see three or four just on first shift from six to two in the morning, three or four a week," says Baldwin.

As a city commissioner, Monte Millard was against them and as new mayor he made it his first order of business to see what it would take to dismantle them.

Turns out, it would cost a pretty penny for the city to buy their way out of a contract with American Traffic Solutions.

"Our numbers sort of came between 100,000 and 600,000 without having to go any further legally to look into it," says Red Bank City Manager Chris Dorsey.

The former commission recently extended the deal to cover 12 years, but there is an out.

"The contract, every three years, has a termination clause. The next clause comes up in January, 2013, where, if the commission gives them, I believe it's 60 days, it we give them 60 days notice, we can terminate the contract without penalty," says Dorsey.

So, for now, it appears the cameras, so prevalent in Chattanooga and in other cities, will remain up and running in Red Bank.

"I would prefer to see a police officer out there patrolling traffic verses a camera," says Baldwin.

City Manager Dorsey says since the cameras have gone in, accidents are down 19% across the city.

And he says ticket revenue is down, showing that people are changing the way they drive through Red Bank.

Detractors would say, it shows people are avoiding that stretch of Dayton Boulevard altogether.

Eyewitness News spoke with Mayor Millard Friday.

He says, while the buy-out option may be off the table, the issue is not closed. He'll continue to work to get rid of the cameras in the new year.

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