Red Bank Commissioners give traffic cameras the boot
RED BANK, TN. (WRCB) - Controversial traffic cameras got their ticket out of town Tuesday.
Red Bank Commissioners voted to cut ties with the traffic camera company that has eyes on three major intersections.
Business owners hope the move will bring customers back to town, but others worry it may be the beginning of a surge in crime.
Mike Akin manages Mojo Burrito on Dayton Boulevard. He says traffic cameras have driven business away.
"They won't come back to our store because of the fact they either got a ticket, or didn't want to risk getting a ticket," he told Channel 3.
Red Bank City Commissioners have received similar complaints.
That's why they voted to part ways with American Traffic Solutions, doing away with the cameras all together.
City leaders say new laws, limiting what the city can ticket for, drastically decreased revenue.
The number of citations issued in 2011 was lower than ever before, but one commissioner says this shouldn't be a dollar and cents decision.
"I always thought they were about safety," said Commissioner Ruth Jeno.
Jeno voted to keep the cameras.
She says the city has three officers on shift at a time, and that's not enough to cover city limits.
"The citizens of Red Bank will be unprotected," she said. "The officers are going to be on the highway, they are going to be doing traffic control, and our neighborhoods are going to be left open."
Jeno says she's not alone.
"The average citizen of Red Bank wanted to keep the cameras," she said.
But Mike Akin isn't one of them. He says he's already making plans to lure customers back.
"We'll probably market it a little bit on our Facebook page, let customers know the cameras have come down," he said. " Hopefully that will bring customers back to Red Bank."
Since 2006, Red Bank has issued 69,000 traffic camera citations.
According to American Traffic Solutions, Red Bank made $72,000 last year, and lowered red light running violations at one intersection by 42 percent.
But the City's traffic count has also dropped by about 12,000 cars.
The Red Bank Police Department used footage from the cameras in 16 police investigations.
The City has to give American Traffic Solutions a 90-day notice to end its contract. That means the cameras will come down in January.