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Published: Tuesday, 9/8/2009

Northwood red-light cameras, speed van could go

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The contract with an Arizona company for a speed-enforcement van and red-light enforcement cameras in Northwood expires in 2010 - and there is a chance neither option will be renewed, the mayor says.

Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner said Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. has asked for too much money from Northwood during contract negotiations, so officials have decided to let talks cool off for now.

The Arizona company provides services for both the speed van, which is manned and takes photos of violators, and red-light cameras at two intersections.

At this point, Northwood County Council has agreed in a 6-1 vote to suspend the mobile-speed van. Unless negotiations with Redflex improve, officials may opt to get rid of the red-light cameras too, Mayor Stoner said.

Proceeds from catching violators with the enforcement devices are used solely for safety purposes, such as improving intersections, not to boost the city's revenues, he said.

"It's not like we are basing our budget on that," Mayor Stoner said.

Redflex continues to negotiate with Northwood and is looking at several proposals, said spokesman Shoba Vaitheeswaran, who declined to comment on specifics of talks.

Northwood Police Chief Thomas Cairl said he supports continuing the mobile-speed van, the only Redflex contract option a majority of council members has opposed renewing.

It has made drivers slow down and helped slash accidents in the city to less than 200 annually from 300 to 400 accidents some years, Chief Cairl said. Both the red-light cameras and speed van have been used in Northwood since 2005.

Northwood's red-light cameras monitor the intersections of Woodville and Lemoyne roads and Wales and Oregon roads. The van is moved around the city as needed to help curb speeding.



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