Palm Bay leaders take first step in taking down red light cameras

Updated:

Loading

PALM BAY, Fla. - Palm Bay has become the first central Florida city to take an official stand against red light cameras.

Thursday night, city leaders took the first step to take the cameras down.

The cameras have been here since 2009, but since then, the city has had a change of heart.

In a 4 to 1 vote, Palm Bay officials decided it needed to cut ties with red light camera company Gatso.

Even though the city still has to vote again next month to finalize the repeal, it's the first time nearly all city leaders have taken a stance against the cameras.

"I don't think you publicly come out and say you want to repeal the ordinance and not repeal it," said Palm Bay Commissioner Kristine Isnardi.

It's been Isnardi's fight since the cameras were installed at three of the city's intersections, and the vote was a personal victory.

"For many years, they voted for it even when I've argued. I've brought it back more than once," she said.

The cameras have been a revenue stream for the city since it started issuing violations, bringing in roughly an extra $130,000 a year for Palm Bay.

But last year, a study by city traffic engineers could not draw any conclusions as to whether the cameras were effective in reducing crashes because of too many other variables, such as speed, lighting and weather.

"You cannot stop crashes. That's just not possible," said driver Austin Leon.

Many drivers WFTV spoke with said it's about time the city took a stance against the cameras.

"I'm happy they are taking them down," said Leon.

Gatso's red light camera contract expires with the city of Palm Bay on Apr. 26.

The city of Palm Bay will finalize their plans at its next council meeting set for the beginning of April.