Watch Out, Photo Radar Coming To Star Valley

Town concerned with dangers of excessive speed

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Despite the fears of some community members that the town would be known only because of the "speed trap," Star Valley will soon have photo radar.

In an effort to slow down motorists buzzing through town, four members of the council voted in favor of installing the speed enforcement system.

Mayor Chuck Heron and councilors Bill Rappaport, Del Newland and Bill Heath overruled their three counterparts and a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems was approved.

The system will be installed on the eastern and western ends of town along Highway 260. It could be up and running as early as four weeks.

Heron said that there would likely be a month-long period where warning citations are issued.

The system, much like the one used on the Loop 101 in Scottsdale, will automatically ticket motorists traveling 11 miles above the posted 45 mph speed limit.

Wade Bettisworth from Redflex said that after a day of sampling travel through town, a photo enforcement system would be beneficial.

He noted 31 violations of excessive speed heading eastbound and 18 westbound violations in two separate three-hour spans.

"We definitely feel that you have a problem," he said. "We feel we have a solution to your problem."

Residents had mixed views about the proposal.

Larry Cory said he was concerned about the stigma that would accompany the enforcement system in the small town.

Bernadette Heath reminded the council of the town's mission statement -- in short, to protect the citizens of Star Valley.

"This to me seems like a very responsible answer," she said. "(It will make) our little town safer for the residents of Star Valley."

Rappaport echoed her concerns.

"If it saves one life, it's worth it," he said.

In the revenue neutral system, violations are screened by Redflex employees before they are sent to be reviewed by the Payson Police Department. The PPD decides whether to issue a citation, which is mailed out from Redflex to the offender.

The system provides still photographs of several different angles of a driver and automobile, as well as 12 seconds of video for each offense, to ensure accuracy, Bettisworth said.

In other news, the council unanimously approved:

  • The authorization of an appraisal of the Payson Water Company by Harold Morgan, in the amount of $15,000.
  • An intergovernmental law enforcement agreement with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, allowing those with hunting licenses to use their firearms in forest lands within town limits.
  • The authorization of a contract extension with Parker Excavating for basic street maintenance until July 2008.
  • The authorization of a new proposal for ongoing services with the town's current hydrology firm, LFR.

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