(Updated 4/17/1013) The Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved the purchase of 72 new speed cameras for $2.2 million April 10 by a four to one vote.
The purchase is to replace equipment that was the subject of a massive malfunction in January. The cameras are used to snare motorists who violate speed laws. The correction of the malfunction was accomplished by switching the camera equipment provider from Xerox State & Local Solutions to the Brekford Corp.
The opposing vote came from City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, who wanted to know why the city had not taken action against Xerox State & Local Solutions, since city officials are blaming the January shutdown on "deficiencies in the performance of the prior vendor," according to board documents.
City officials are still exploring legal options, said Timothy Krus, the city's purchasing agent.
Still, local residents are reticent about a fresh round of spending to generate fines from motorists. Okima Harris CQ has lived in Baltimore all her life, the amount of money that is expected to come from taxpayers makes her uneasy.
“They are just trying to find new ways to get money from taxpayers,” said Harris. “Can they find a different source that is not so costly,” she continued.
Local hotfeet and speed demons got a reprieve April 16 from the eye-in-the-sky as Baltimore’s acting Department of Transportation director shut down what are commonly known as speed cameras because of “mistakes” engulfing the Automatic Traffic Violation Enforcement System (ATVES).
Frank Murphy called a halt to the system that automatically spits out a ticket, along with a picture of your vehicle in the act of violating a speed law or traffic signal--indefinitely.
“We do not have a date for resumption – we want time to check the entire program,” Muphy said after shutting down the system and its new vendor, Hanover, Md.-based Brekford Corp.