Souix City began using speed cameras on Interstate 29 four years ago. Since then, City leaders have built the camera’s revenue into the budget. A bill at the State House hopes to make those cameras illegal.
If the bill passes the Iowa House, Sioux City stands to lose millions of dollar in revenue according to Mayor Bob Scott, “It would be significant if they’re talking speed cameras and red light cameras themselves, you’re looking at 2 million dollars a year plus.”
The bill proposes to take the money generated by traffic cameras away from cities and counties and redirect it to the state’s road fund. This comes as city leaders finalize their budget, which relies on revenue from those cameras.
“Some of the funding was going to go into the repair of the police station, some of the funding was going to go to actual operations of the police department, we’ve been trying to use it for public safety,” Scott said.
“Quite frankly, the City doesn’t have the money to address it at this point in time, so it’ll be a significant tax increase.”
That’s if the bill passes. Meanwhile, police captain Mel Williams, who spearheaded the effort to bring traffic cameras to Sioux City, says state lawmakers are overlooking the main issue, safety, not revenue.
He says before the speed cameras went up along I-29 near downtown, a survey showed that 38 percent of the cars were driving 11-miles-an-hour over the speed limit, or faster. Over the last 12 months police issued tickets to less than 1-percent of drivers going through the area.
Williams also says, even with fine money included in this year’s budget, city departments are still expected to make cuts, something he thinks the state needs to consider.
“Instead of the state looking to take those funds, the state should be applauding the city’s efforts to work towards getting property taxes as low as we can, so that we can attract more businesses and citizens to live in our state,”
Sioux City Mayor, Bob Scott says if the law passes, the city is allowed to break its contract with the traffic camera company.
Thanks to sister station, KTIV.