• Clermont could be stuck with red-light cameras


    CLERMONT, Fla. - The city of Clermont may be stuck with its new red-light cameras.
    Some City Council members want to dump the cameras, or at least stop enforcing right turns on red. But now they say that would come with a hefty price.
    Removing those cameras, or even letting the right turn tickets slide, would violate the city's contract with the camera company.
    You don't have to go very far in Clermont to find somebody with a red-light camera story.
    "My mom, she got a warning because they said she didn't stop long enough. And she stopped.  We counted like three seconds," said Lake County resident Kim Hardwick.
    In that case there was no ticket, but more than 3,000 drivers have received tickets since the city's six cameras went live on Jan. 3.
    According to the city, 90 percent of those citations were for right turns on red.  That is why some City Council members wanted to stop enforcing it.
    "If we eliminate the right hand turn violation, we'll be going against our contract," said Clermont City Manager Darren Gray.
    Gray had to deliver what some considered to be bad news at this week's council meeting. 
    The city essentially rents the cameras from a company called American Traffic Solutions, and according to the three-year contract, must pay ATS a monthly fee.
    "Right now we have six cameras.  They are $4,750 apiece.  That's $28,500 per month that we would be responsible for," said Gray.
    Gray is now trying to negotiate the city out of installing 18 more red-light cameras.
    Some city leaders now wish they'd never signed up for this deal. 
    City residents wish elected officials had read the fine print.
    "Yeah, I think they should have done more research on it," said Hardwick.
    Some city leaders hope the Florida Legislature will ban red-light cameras. They believe that may give them a chance to get out of the deal with ATS.

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