ORLANDO, Fla. — 9 Investigates found out the city will soon start citing drivers who are caught running red lights with the help of new cameras.
9 Investigative reporter Daralene Jones reviewed budget reports and discovered the new red light program is forcing the city to add more resources.
“It's surprising after the amount of time we've been doing this, that people are still doing this and still have little regard for the rest of us still driving out there,” said Mike Rhodes, code enforcement director with the city of Orlando.
The city is in the process of installing 20 new red light cameras to combat what leaders call a public safety problem.
The city council approved the contract last November for $1.5 million, and that number could increase to $2.4 million over the next two years.
The city originally said, ‘no’ when Eyewitness News asked if the new contract would require hiring additional personnel or overtime.
City leaders said they didn't want to hire before the cameras were up.
But the city council just approved $47,000 to create two additional contract positions in anticipation of an increase in citations and disputed cases.
“I would expect, just given the total volume when all of the new cameras are online, probably be an increase of 50 percent, maybe a little more,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes told Eyewitness News the red light program is still paying for itself, generating $1.8 million this fiscal year, and he expects $2.5 million next year.
City records have shown cameras already online have caught drivers running red lights 79,000 times over the last 3 years. And 25,000 citations generated were never sent because employees found the drivers didn't actually run the light.
Eyewitness News asked if the city is worried about investing so much into a system that continues to face legal battles in court and in the state legislature.
“We're kind of hoping we rise above some of the political aspects of what the state legislature is doing and use it as a public safety tool,” Rhodes said.
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