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‘Speeding’ cameras may be next in UC

‘Speeding’ cameras may be next in UC

Posted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 8:59 pm
By: Donna Ryder, Associate Editor

By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
Motorists driving through Union City may have gotten accustomed to stopping at red lights; now they may need to watch their speed as well.
Union City Council mem-bers gave interim city man-ager Kathy Dillon and city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr. authorization to negotiate a contract with Redflex for red light cameras and speed limit cameras for the city.
The authorization was for negotiation, not to actually enter into the contract, it was noted at Tuesday’s meeting.
Councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison said he understands speeding tops the list of citations followed by seat belt violations in the city.
Assistant Police Chief Perry Barfield confirmed his statement, saying the majority of the citations issued over the past three months have been for speeding. There were 457 speeding citations issued in 2009. He added if the officers spent their eight hours each day just watching for speeders, it would be five times that number.
Barfield said Redflex would install fixed sites for the cameras but would also give the city a mobile speed van, which could be moved to areas where the department is receiving complaints of speeding.
He said the police department would like to recommend the council approve both types of cameras, adding the department saw a decrease in the number of red light violations during the term in which Traffipax monitored red light cameras in the city. Those cameras were turned off at the end of March when Traffipax decided no longer to be in the red light camera business.
Barfield said the first month the cameras were in operation, 276 citations were issued. An average of 138 citations were issued the last few months.
“We feel it would be a benefit to add speed cameras as well,” he said.
Councilman Billy Jack “B.J.” Cranford asked Barfield if it was a good thing to have fixed cameras so people know where they are. Barfield replied, “Yes. We want them to know they are being monitored. We want them to know. … It’s not a surprise. We’re not trying to hide.”
The fine for being caught by the red light and speed cameras would be $50. The violations would not go against the driver’s record, unlike if a driver is stopped by an officer for either of those violations.
Harrison said, “The police department is actually not issuing the citation. The people themselves are issuing their own citation.”
Barfield said the addition of the speed cameras would free up officers to perform other duties.
Mayor Terry Hailey cast the lone “no” vote.
In other business, after the meeting was opened in prayer by Glasgow, the council:
• Agreed to postpone an appointment to the Planning Commission.
• Authorized a contract with J.R. Wauford for engineering services on Phase II of the I-69 project. There is no cost to the city.
• Heard from Obion County General Sessions Judge Jimmy Smith about a program in which people who are on probation must work community service hours. He said these people could do some work with the city that does not require supervision.
Hailey said, “It sounds good to me. I don’t know why we couldn’t do that.”
Parks director Ken Morris said he has already utilized some of the people who are on probation.
Smith said because of the economy, he may have to require more community service since many people can’t afford to pay the fines.
• Agreed to solicit bids for equipment that would allow the city to bring street sweeping and brush collection back into the public works department. The city currently contracts with Barker Brothers for these services.
• Approved guidelines for issuing proclamations.
• Learned Union City City Beautiful Commission’s Clean Up Week will be May 15-29. Dumpsters will be placed in the same locations as previous years during that week.
• Agreed to accept bids for the demolition of a building at 1304 East Main St.
• Discussed animal problems in the city. Police Chief Joe Garner said he will need to vary the hours of the animal control officer because of the complaints about one particular owner who is letting his dogs out at night. A resident on Macon Drive also addressed the council about her neighbor’s dogs. She said they are waking her up at 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning, digging under her fence, chewing her wooden gate and urinating in her flower beds.
• Garner said the police department will have to have some overtime because he has been having to call officers in at night. He said it is also the time when many officers are taking their vacations.
• Discussed speeding on Morgan Street.
• Reminded residents about the ordinance which states they are not to allow grass clippings to go into the roadway.
• Heard a report from Morris on the parks system. (See Thursday’s edition of The Messenger for complete details.)
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Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.21.10

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