Red light cameras are paying off for Hillsborough County. In fact, the cameras accounted for $1.8 million just last year.
With every flash, another driver is caught running a red light. About 30,000 people were cited in 2010 at 10 intersections equipped with the cameras.
"Looking at recent data, we're citing about 400 individuals every week," said Hillsborough County Management Services Administrator Eric Johnson.
The tickets carry a $158 fine. Where does the money go? County workers say they first pay the red light camera vendor $50,000 a month for their services and another $2,500 for a deputy.
"We cover the cost associated with the program," Johnson explained to FOX 13. "We pay the sheriff's office for the deputy that reviews the videos and the remainder of the money goes into what's called a general fund."
That fund pays for fire rescue, the sheriff's office, parks and recreation, road maintenance and code enforcement.
The new cash comes at perfect time. Johnson says the recession has dropped home values, which means the county is short $20 million in tax revenues.
"It's filling in the gap for about 9 percent of the property tax revenue that we lost from last year to this year," Johnson said. "So it keeps programs afloat. This notion that people have that there is some incentive for us to cite more people, it's not."
Things are a bit different in Lakeland, where city council members are considering moving two red light cameras from the intersections they are presently at because they are costing the city more in income than the amount that is coming in through tickets.
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