Tampa delays decision on contract for red-light cameras

03/24/11 Seán Kinane
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Tampa City Council has delayed a decision on a contract for red-light cameras. In its last regular meeting before newly-elected members join in April, Council deadlocked 3-3, pushing the decision to the next regular meeting on April 7.

Curtis Stokes, who was defeated in his bid for a citywide seat on the council, and Mary Mulhern and Charlie Miranda, who were re-elected, voted against the contract. Miranda’s main concern is that revenue would be slated for the city’s general fund and not for public safety.

"I've been here long enough to let you know that if you pass this resolution that is the intent in writing, that it goes in the general fund, the administration coming in will put it in the general fund because that...am I correct or am I wrong?"

City Attorney Chip Fletcher:

"That's correct"

Councilman Miranda:

"Alright, you put it in the general fund and that's what happens. It'll never get moved again, because then you need 5 votes, not 4, to change it in the budget item. Am I correct? Because of the veto power. Not that it's going to happen."

City Attorney Chip Fletcher said once the contract is approved, it’s possible for City Council to vote to change where the revenues from red-light fines would be credited.

"You have a contract before you that you either need to vote up or down on and there will be no revenues generated for quite some time, as you heard earlier, even if there are significant citations issued. It takes a while for that cash flow to start, so you would not be receiving any revenues during this budget year. I think that would be unlikely."

Outgoing City Council members Gwen Miller and Joesph Caetano voted for the red-light contract, as did Yvonne Yolie Capin, who will return to Council after she won a runoff this week. Council Chair Thomas Scott, who finished last in his bid to become the city’s new Mayor, was ill and missed the meeting. Outgoing Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio thanked the staff and City Council members who served during her eight-year administration.

"What a great staff it has been. We have been a team that has been together the full eight years, some staying, some leaving. Of course, there will be natural transitions with the new mayor, but I'm very proud of the professionalism and integrity of the staff. They have served the citizens well. Today I am also here on their behalf to say thank you to them."

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio is leaving because of term limits. Her replacement, Bob Buckhorn, will be sworn in on April 1.

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