Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Speed cameras continue to remain under the microscope of legislators after several of the cameras were found with inaccuracies. Now there’s more controversy surrounding how the contractors are paid after Governor Martin O’Malley brings the payment method into question.
Rochelle Ritchie explains.
In this 16-page contract between Baltimore County and ACS–the company who owns the speed cameras–WJZ finds the contractors are being paid per ticket.
“I think the whole way it’s being done is obviously wrong,” said Jim Chenault.
Governor Martin O’Malley says this week it’s against the law for the county to charge per volume.
Lawmakers say while jurisdictions are in compliance, there is a loophole.
“It is all about the money. If it weren’t, these jurisdictions wouldn’t be operating this way,” said Sen. James Brochin.
Senator James Brochin, who voted against speed cameras, says paying the contractors on a per ticket basis keeps jurisdictions within the law.
“We are going to have to rewrite again and make it even clearer, although I thought it was clear enough,” said Brochin.
The law says, “If a contractor operates a speed monitoring system on behalf of a local jurisdiction, the contractor’s fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid.”
“They shouldn’t get a portion because then it would be an incentive for more tickets,” said Rebecca Brower.
The county says of the $40 paid by speeders, $18.95 goes to their contractor. In Baltimore City, $19.20 of the $40 is paid to their hired contractor.
While many drivers can find 30 reasons why they don’t approve of the pay per ticket policy, some can find one reason why.
“If they break or someone hits them, there is a cost to fix that,” said Lenna Blaser.
Drivers say with all the controversy surrounding the cameras, they’d rather rely on officers than a machine.
The speed camera system has generated more than $48 million since it began.