Red light camera vote expected to be close at Canton City Council meeting

Mayor says cameras would generate $1 million

CANTON, Ohio - Canton City Council members could be split on Mayor William Healy's proposal to use traffic cameras to catch speeders and red light violators at certain intersections and school zones.

On Monday, Healy said it's possible that Monday's vote, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., could end in a 6-6 tie. If that happens, the tie would be broken by Allen Schulman, the president of Canton City Council.

Schulman is also a local attorney. NewsChannel5 left a message at his office to inquire on how he would vote, but that call has not been returned as of Monday afternoon.

Healy wants to enter into a five-year contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, which operates out of Arizona and Australia.

The mayor said if the plan is approved, the cameras could generate $1 million annually for the general fund.

Tickets issued to violators would range from $100 to $250 depending on the speed.

"They don't cost you a cent if you follow the laws in the city of Canton. Go the speed limit, stop at red lights and you won't spend a dime," Healy said.

The city would like to place four of the cameras at dangerous intersections, including 12th Street NW and Market Avenue N, where Healy spoke with reporter Bob Jones.

"This intersection has been the most dangerous intersection in Stark County for 15 straight years or longer. There are more accidents at this intersection than anywhere else in the entire county," Healy said.

Two other floating cameras would be used in school zones, and the final camera would be available at the request of council members or neighborhood groups.

Healy faces plenty of opposition, including from Canton resident Dan Ablett, 44, who plans to speak against the traffic cameras at Monday's meeting.

"This is a money grab. This is about money. This is about revenue," Ablett said.

Ablett also fought against a traffic camera proposal that failed in 2009.

Ablett, who stressed he's a Democrat like the mayor, said he believes Healy has not given the public or council enough time to offer input.

"None of the council members who have to vote on this were given a copy of this contract. This contract wasn't released from the law department until after 3:30 p.m. on Friday and they're supposed to vote on this on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Canton would not have to pay any upfront costs to Redflex, but the company would receive a portion of the fine money with the remainder going to Canton.

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