If it’s all about safety . . .

This year has been the Year of the Traffic Cam in Columbiana County as several of our communities saw a way to make money by posting traffic cameras to catch speeding motorists.

While the installation of the cameras and the resulting tickets issued to violators met with many local protests, officials of the municipalities who rushed to install the cameras insisted that it wasn’t about the money, but rather they were trying to protect public safety.

But now, a bill proposed by Ohio Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, wants to move all civil traffic violations to municipal courts and deduct camera revenue from a municipality’s local government fund distribution.

Under House Bill 410, all revenue from traffic camera violations would be deducted from a town’s annual LGF distribution. Since the municipalities would still have to pay the camera companies, they would lose money instead of making it.

By requiring municipalities to move traffic violations to municipal courts, instead of mayor’s courts or administrative hearings, the bill would also cause communities to lose money a second way. Municipalities would pay the court costs and fees when they file the violation but would not get the court fees back regardless of the outcome of the case. The defendant would only pay the fine for the violation.

In proposing the bill, Seitz told Cleveland.com, “The cities have claimed the red light and speed cameras are all about safety and not about money — we’re going to put them to the proof.”

If HB 410 passes into law, it will be interesting to see how many traffic cameras in our county remain in operation.

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