Tonawanda News

The City

May 28, 2014

Stop sign put up on red light cameras

Questions about company led to decision by Tonawanda mayor

Tonawanda News — Mayor Rick Davis said Tuesday the City of Tonawanda is not working toward a deal with Redflex, the Arizona-based company that proposed installing red light cameras at three local intersections. 

“We are not pursuing it any further. It is a dead issue,” Davis said. 

In December, the former council passed a resolution allowing for plans to move forward with Redflex for the installation of cameras at the intersections of Niagara and Seymour streets, Delaware and Broad streets and the Twin Cities Memorial Highway and Young Street. Under the program, which would have come at no cost to the city, a $50 fine would have been assessed to a vehicle’s registered owner.

But the new council members, who took their seats at the start of 2014, scrutinized the plans and the company.

A Redflex representative, David Samuel, attended a meeting in January to answer council members’ questions, including those about the company’s contentious past. Residents and officials who had done research on the company asked Samuel about a bribery scandal in Chicago that was revealed last year.

An outside investigator determined that Redflex bribed a Chicago city traffic official with lavish trips and tickets to the Super Bowl worth thousands of dollars. The company fired an employee and three top executives resigned. Chicago then banned Redflex from competing in its red light camera program.

“Who’s to say that won’t happen here?” Fourth Ward Councilwoman Jenna Koch said.

Although Samuel argued that the terminations and the hiring of new leadership had corrected the problem, council members and residents remained concerned about the company’s reputation.

Davis said he and the council decided to sever ties with Redflex for several reasons.

“Residents were against it. It really wasn’t one thing ... it was a combination of residents’ feelings and question marks about the company that led to the demise of the discussions,” he said.

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