Below is KOAT TV's coverage of the Task Force.
Mayor Chavez announcement came after two different T.V. stations did investigative pieces over just where the money was going. KOAT TV's investigation revealed that between 2005 and 2007, New Mexicans paid $10.6 million in red light and speed tickets. The city spent $4.8 million to run the safety program, which means $5.8 million is in the city general fund - all generated from the red light and speed program. When KOAT TV asked the city's chief financial officer, Gail Reese, how a program Mayor Martin Chavez claims is not out to make money is making millions. She responded with "Over time this program's costs will equal the revenues.
"It is an expensive program. Safety is an expensive thing,".
Here is the KOAT piece on the profits the City of Albuquerque has made from the program.
As I said earlier RedFlex charges Exorbitant fees to Albuquerque. The city spends about $200,000 a month leasing these cameras and speed vans, and on top of that the company leasing the cameras to Albuquerque, RedFlex, also charges for every single ticket: $18 for red light runners and nearly $25 for speeders. What I hope is that the task force appointed by Marty Chavez or one of the news outlets does a comparison between the contract RedFlex has with the city of Albuquerque and other contracts the company and similar companies have with other cities across the state. I have a feeling there are vast differences and communities that fight for a good deal and want to save taxpayers money are successful in doing so.
This red light program needs to be completely restructured or ended all together. One of the things that we who are law enforcement administrators often try to do is to eliminate the perception that we have quota's or that we make money from tickets. Most agencies do not. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office gets about $6000 a year back from magistrate courts from tickets we issue. We issue about 30,000 tickets a year so as you can see it really is not much. Especially when you consider the over ten million dollar budget we have in the Sheriff's Office. This program flies in the face of trying to get rid of the perception that tickets are to generate funds. What tickets should be about is education and deterrence.
Here are some links to past blog posts I have had on red light camera's. When you read them you will see that you heard it here first. The things this task force will study are the things I have advocated looking at all along.
Sheriff Greg Solano Red Light Camera Blog Posts.
Note: I use KOAT TV a lot for embedded video in my blog posts because they are nice enough to post their video on YouTube. Its a great convenience and I think a great way to get free publicity for their station.