.

Abington Police Chief Lambasts Inquirer's Red Light Camera Editorial

Abington Police Chief William Kelly fires back at an editorial in the 'Inquirer' regarding the township's upcoming red light cameras.

Abington Police Chief William Kelly Credit: Mischa Arnosky
Abington Police Chief William Kelly Credit: Mischa Arnosky

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. 

waldo von erich December 05, 2013 at 07:08 PM
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. this is an interesting statement , does this mean if they don't take in enough money , will the red light system be more aggressive in trying to product more money? I some how I don't see this company or any other business go out on the limb and put their money up front and not have a real good rate of return on their investment in putting these traffic cameras in . as a resident some where it will wind up costing the tax payer , also who will be paying the salary of the Abington police officer , who will be issuing the citations and going to court ?
Betty Smith December 07, 2013 at 09:03 AM
"Gatso will receive a flat monthly fee of $4,200 per camera per month." I believe there are four cameras per site (two at one site) or ten cameras. Ten times $4,200 is $42,000 per month. Gatso will receive a flat monthly fee from whom? Abington Township? Clarification, please.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »