Side effects loom if Iowa adopts traffic camera ban
A ban on traffic enforcement cameras could have side effects for Iowa cities that rely on the technology, including Cedar Rapids, which has the most robust camera program in the state. The specter of a ban has prompted Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz to not count on the $3 million to $3.5 million in annual revenue from speed and red light cameras in the city’s fiscal 2018 general fund budget, which will be adopted by City Council in March and starts July 1, 2017.
“In order to be cautious we are going to exclude that revenue,” Pomeranz said. “The last thing we want to do is have the City Council approve a budget that is several million dollars short.” The general fund pays for various city services and staff, such as police, fire, library, streets and garbage collection, while generating money from property taxes, which Pomeranz said won’t be increased. Total property tax revenue won’t be known for another month, so how to offset lost traffic camera revenue remains up in the air, Pomeranz said.
Budgeting is just one of the possible ripple effects should state lawmakers ban traffic cameras. Traffic safety, pending lawsuits and ticket refunds could also crop up as issues. State Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told the Quad-City Times he expects legislation to ban traffic cameras to clear the House and Senate next month and then land on Gov. Terry Branstad’s desk. —AP