Loss of red-light cameras puts $2.17 million bite in Arlington city budget

Arlington officials say the Police Department is no longer processing new red-light camera violations.
Arlington officials say the Police Department is no longer processing new red-light camera violations. Star-Telegram archives

While many Arlington residents celebrate the May 9 election defeat of the red-light camera system, city finance officials are coping with a projected $2.17 million loss in citation revenues in the next fiscal year.

The city has sent a contract termination notice to Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, the private manager of the city’s camera system since January 2007, officially ending the public-private arrangement in 90 days.

But relief for many recent traffic violators is immediate. The Police Department is no longer processing citations from the red-light system, so motorists who triggered camera flashes at the 19 monitored intersections after May 9 are off the hook.

The revenue shortfall is being dealt with swiftly.

“The state of Texas requires revenue from the program to be spent on traffic safety programs, so the elimination of the program will affect the Arlington Police Department,” the city said in a statement. Those revenues funded the jobs of three program administrators and 23 sworn police officers in the drunken-driving and patrol units.

The department will cut 23 police positions, reducing the police force to a total of 620 sworn officers. Currently, 622 of those positions are filled, leaving two that will be funded from a reserve fund created by the city to help work through unexpected economic loss.

Two of the three nonsworn administrative positions to be cut are already vacated, according to the statement. The third is being transferred to fill another vacancy in the department.

Violations that occurred through May 9 were to be mailed by May 19, the statement said. Those can be appealed for up to 30 days after they’re issued, city spokesman Reggie Lewis said.

On Tuesday, the City Council canvassed the results of the May 9 election, in which voters also re-elected all four council members on the ballot and ousted Mayor Robert Cluck in favor of Jeff Williams.

The re-elected council members — Robert Rivera, Kathryn Wilemon, Lana Wolff and Michael Glaspie in Districts 3, 4, 5 and 8, respectively — and Williams will be sworn in shortly after the regular council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 101 W. Abram St.

Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7100

Twitter: @Kaddmann_ST

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