Abington Police Chief William Kelly last night criticized a recent Inquirer editorial regarding the installation of red light cameras in the township.
Speaking at the public safety committee meeting, Kelly said of the editorial, “There are so many factual errors [in the piece] it’s really amazing. It’s misleading citizens into thinking this wasn’t thought through.”
The mid-November editorial, called “Red-light cameras carry risk,” said that the township may have to foot the bill to the red light camera contractor, Gatso, Inc., if the cameras don’t snap enough pictures at the three designated intersections.
From the editorial:
“As the first Pennsylvania suburb prepares to install red-light cameras, Abington Township residents may well fear that their tax bills will take a big jump to pay for the program if not enough motorists flout the law.
"That’s the dilemma posed by red-light camera enforcement programs, which require substantial sums upfront to cover the cost of installing and maintaining cameras, as well as paperwork associated with issuing $100 tickets to motorists who fail to stop on red.”
Kelly, as well as Abington Township Manager Michael LeFevre, have stressed in recent months that Gatso, Inc. would absorb the loss should the cameras not generate enough civil citations.
Per the proposed agreement, Gatso will be responsible for “all costs and expenses associated with the supply, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, and removal of the system and all related hardware and equipment.” Gatso will also provide signage for each intersection equipped with the cameras; three workstations to access the violation processing system; and training to township employees.
In return, Gatso will receive a flat monthly fee of $4,200 per camera, per month. Should the township not take in enough money through the program to cover the cost, Gatso will “absorb the loss," though it can recoup the loss in later months.
Any funds in excess of running the program will be remitted back to the state.
To read the entire agreement, click here ... and scroll down quite a bit.
LeFevre said Kelly responded to the Inquirer with an email. Here’s an excerpt:
“It is said that "Everyone is entitled to an opinion." That may be so, but the November 13, 2013 Inquirer editorial "Not the only way to slow traffic" is filled with "facts" that are completely inaccurate, that totally mislead readers, and that could have been corrected with one phone call. In its haste to offer their skeptical Opinion, the Inquirer failed to "inquire" about the facts necessary to form a reasonable and responsible opinion.
"The very first sentence is certainly sensational and alarming -- but totally inaccurate. Abington residents do NOT need to fear that their taxes will be needed to fund Abington's experimental Red Light Camera program. How do we know? Because the entire arrangement is structured by the enabling state law and by the legally-binding contract between Abington and the RLC vendor. It will not cost the citizens of Abington one dime, period. Even any related costs created by the program are reimbursed to the Township and that reimbursement occurs "off the top" -- before any money goes to the Vendor or the State.”
The red light cameras will be placed at the following intersections:
- Old York and Susquehanna roads
- Moreland and Fitzwatertown roads
- Old Welsh and Old York roads
For more about the upcoming red light cameras in Abington, see the most recent story on Abington Patch here, and click the links.