EDITOR'S NOTE: The City Council did indeed vote Wednesday night, hours after publication, to not renew the contract with the red-light cameras. The contract expires Sept. 30.
City staff is recommending the City Council ditch the cameras that catch red-light violators in two San Juan Capistrano intersections.
The current contract with American Traffic Systems expires in September. It will be up to the City Council to decide whether or not to renew the system, which sends tickets to alleged violators – along with their photos – by mail.
Cindy Russell, chief financial officer for the city, told the council at a special budget meeting Tuesday, that it costs the city $170,000 a year to issue the tickets, while generating $240,000 in revenues which come from the fines.
At the height of ticketing, the system produced $400,000 annually for the city, Russell said.
Lt. John Meyer, chief of police services for the city, said fine collection is down for several reasons, including:
- The public has better driving habits
- Familiarity with the system
Meyer said a good 25-30 percent of one deputy’s time is spent reviewing the violations. Should the council agree to get rid of the cameras, that deputy can return to field work.
The council is expected to approve the city budget in July and discuss the red light cameras before the contract expires at the end of September.