Thursday, June 8, 2017

[Ventura County] Oxnard's red light cameras may be financial burden

Ventura County Grand Jury report finds

OXNARD, Calif. - A new Ventura County Grand Jury report has found issues with Oxnard’s red light cameras.  The problems range from the cameras not being up to state standards to the cost.  According to the report the cameras may be putting Oxnard in the red, by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Ventura County Grand Jury received a complaint regarding the operation of the red light cameras in the City of Oxnard.
When the grand jury took up the investigation they not only verified the original complaint but they also found several additional problems with Oxnard’s red light camera system.
The City of Oxnard put in its red light camera systems to enhance traffic safety.
The Ventura County Grand Jury found research that confirmed that is true but it also found that the contract Oxnard signed with Redflex Traffic Systems to put the red light cameras in could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the current debt with the contract is $800,000.
The grand jury says the city signed the contract believing any debt not reimbursed through the funds of red light traffic citations would be terminated at the end of the contract but the grand jury found the contract did not explicitly say that.
“However the language is not clear and it simply refers that a reconcilement will occur.  So it is a very large amount of money that has been able to accumulate throughout the years, and we found that it was a poor job of vetting the contract and maintaining it throughout the years to allow that balance to accrue because it could pose a risk,” said Ventura County Grand Jury foreperson Pamela Riss.
The Ventura County Grand Jury report also found that four of Oxnard’s red light cameras were not in compliance with state standards.
“The state sets standards for the timing for yellow lights, and so we brought in an independent traffic engineer to recalculate those and we found that in four of the eight it was in fact shorter than it should be,” said Riss.
Oxnard Police Department Commander Randy Latimer told NewsChannel 3 that the department identified the cameras that were not in compliance in December, 2016.  Those cameras are no longer being enforced and the 146 citations that were given out at those intersections during the yellow phase timing discrepancies have been dismissed.
The Oxnard Police Department and city are currently working with the city’s contract traffic engineer to ensure that all traffic signals within the city are compliant with state guidelines.
At this time the City of Oxnard’s Red Light Camera System is not in operation due to the contract with RedFlex Traffic Systems expiring in January of this year.   City departments are currently evaluating the red light camera program.  No word on if and when it will be put back online.
June 2, 2017
By Kelsey Gerckens

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