Tonawanda News

January 29, 2014

Red light camera meeting canceled

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Two City of Tonawanda council members canceled Tuesday’s special meeting that was called to consider rescinding an agreement with Redflex, an Arizona company that is proposing installing red light cameras at three local intersections.

Councilwoman Jackie Smilinich, D-2nd ward, and Councilwoman Jenna Koch, D-4th ward, requested the meeting last week, but withdrew the request after receiving a copy of a letter from Assemblyman Robin Schimminger that was sent to Mayor Rick Davis.

Schimminger stated that the city needs to pass more resolutions and provide more information to officials before the state government approves the program.

“This will allow us the opportunity we seek to speak to this issue and voice our objections when the referenced needed resolutions are presented for a further vote by the Common Council,” Koch and Smilinich wrote in a statement. “We wish the community to know of our concerns and objections to this contract and we look forward to the additional public debate on this issue.”

Schimminger also noted that all of the red light camera projects in the state are demonstration projects, and will sunset at the end of the year.

In December, the former city council passed a resolution allowing for plans to move forward with Redflex for the installation of cameras at three intersections — Niagara and Seymour streets, Delaware and Broad streets and the Twin Cities Memorial Highway at Young Street. Four new council members took their seats in January and have been scrutinizing the plans and the company.

At last week’s council meeting, officials questioned David Samuel, a company representative, on Redflex’s past, including about a bribery scandal in Chicago that was revealed last year. 

Samuel argued that the terminations and the hiring of new leadership has corrected the problem, and that the company’s policies prevent bribery from occurring.

“We have done everything possible to make sure what happened in Chicago never happens again,” he said.