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Camera systems to target speeders around Union City

Camera systems to target speeders around Union City

Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 9:02 pm
By: Donna Ryder, Associate Editor

By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
Public safety was on the minds of Union City Council members Tuesday night.
The Union City Council approved an amendment to a city ordinance which provides for automated traffic signal and speed limit enforcement systems and agreed to an exclusive contract between Union City and Redflex Traffic Systems for the photo red light and speed enforcement program.
The city had previously contracted with Traffipax to install red light cameras, which were activated in May 2009 for a 30-day warning period. The first month the cameras were in operation for actual citations, 276 were issued, according to Assistant Po-lice Chief Perry Barfield. An average of 138 citations were issued the last few months the cameras were in operation this year.
Barfield and Police Chief Joe Garner have said in prior meetings that complaints about people running the red lights were down and there was rarely an accident at the intersections where the red light cameras were placed.
When Traffipax decided no longer to be in the automated traffic signal business, the city began looking for another company.
During the time the cameras were deactivated at the end of March until the May 4 meeting of the council, Barfield said there had been two “T-bone-type” injury accidents at Everett Boulevard which involved red light violations.
The police department supports the installation of both the red light cameras and the speed limit cameras, it has been stated in council meetings.
Redflex will install the cameras, provide technical support and issue citations after an official with the city’s police department confirms a citation should be issued. The city will receive a fee based on the number of paid citations — $14 each for one to 100, $21 each for 101 to 150 and $31 each for 151 or more citations.
There will be no cost to the city.
Cameras will be installed after the company performs a study.
Mayor Terry Hailey and councilman Johnny Bacon voted against the measure.
The council also unanimously agreed to increase the speed limit on Reelfoot Avenue in the school zone from 15 mph to 25 mph and to allow the police department to establish a driving school.
In other business Tuesday after the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council:
• Learned there are still no recommendations to fill a seat on the planning commission.
• Approved updated job descriptions for foreman II and laborer in the street department and maintenance construction laborer in the water and sewer department.
• Awarded a bid for a knuckle-boom truck to Stringfellow in Nashville on a two-year financing plan for a total of $116,496 and a bid for a street sweeper to Scruggs in Memphis on a five-year financing plan for a total of $202,303.55. These purchases allow the city to bring limb pick-up and street sweeping back into the responsibilities of the city’s public works department. The city had been contracting these services with Barker Brothers.
• Approved purchases for sound equipment for Union City Civic Auditorium from Lowrance Sound in an amount not to exceed $10,000. Interim city manager Kathy Dillon said the police department will help locate a safe to store the items, since the new purchases are to replace items which have disappeared.
Ms. Dillon said the council will take up the matter of lighting, painting and new curtains for the Civic Auditorium at a later date.
• Allowed Miles School Head Start to add an egress to the building, per the fire marshal’s requirements, in order to add an early Head Start classroom.
• Received a report on the rehab project along Exchange, Church and High streets. Public works director Steve Ladd said bids were opened April 30 and awarded to Ford Construction, which expects to begin in 30 to 45 days. He said the public works department has installed new storm drains where they were needed. He said the streets will be milled down to the gutter before being repaved because most have the asphalt meeting the tops of the curbs.
Pleasant Valley Avenue, from Reelfoot Avenue to the city limits, will also be repaved in this project. Ladd said drainage in that area is especially bad and the water sometimes washes away residents’ property, causing mud in the streets and the gutters.
Side streets in the areas of Exchange, Church and High streets may be included, depending on the availability of money. The project is being paid for through an 80-20 percent matching grant.
Oct. 31 is the completion date on the contract.
Ladd said the next few months will be extremely busy in these areas and he requests parents watch their children because the pieces of equipment being utilized are dangerous.
• Agreed to allow the mayor to sign a letter supporting Main Street-Union City.
• Voted to accept bids on the demolition of property at 1310 Mercer St.
• Allowed the closure of Nash Street from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to Vine Street on June 19 from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. for a Kids Day event and the closure of Gibbs Street from Home to Dobbins streets July 9 from 3:30-8:30 p.m. for a family reunion.
• Informed Ms. Dillon the property at Washington and Sixth streets needs to be mowed. Councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison asked how the city gets its money when it mows property. Ms. Dillon informed him a lien is placed on the property. Harrison then asked about the possibility of bringing the person into court. Ms. Dillon said the city does bring people into court but the cases are dismissed.
Glasgow said he would look into what other options the city has in dealing with these matters.
• Questioned the tornado sirens running continuously during recent tornado warnings. Hailey said he thought they were suppose to sound for three minutes, then intermittently throughout the warning period. He said he also doesn’t think the sirens should sound unless the warning is for Union City proper. “There’s no reason to turn them on when its for Lanes Ferry or the Cloverdale area,” he said.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.19.10

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