Although the state has decided to end its use of photo enforcement cameras this summer, Star Valley says it has no plans to remove its four cameras unless state mandated to do so.
Star Valley Mayor Bill Rappaport said the cameras are here to stay.
“We just renewed our contract with RedFlex for a couple more years,” he said.
On Saturday, Star Valley’s two newest cameras went active, boosting the number of tickets snapped from 100 to nearly 350.
“It surprised me because I thought this would be a slow time of year,” he said of the high number of tickets Saturday.
Recently, the Department of Public Safety told RedFlex Traffic Systems they would not renew their contract for the camera service, thus ending the program July 15. DPS currently has 78 mobile and fixed units stationed around the state on various highways.
DPS responded to media inquiries about the decision with “no comment.”
Rappaport, who has been a longtime proponent of the cameras, said if the cameras were removed from Star Valley, the number of accidents would increase.
Furthermore, he cited a study that found the majority of Arizonans support the use of cameras.
“Voters overwhelmingly support the continued use of photo enforcement to ticket red light runners and speeders,” according to the Public Opinion Strategies.
Of 500 registered voters polled in January 2009, 69 percent said city and county police departments should continue use of the cameras to ticket drivers who exceed the posted speed limit by 11 mph.
Rappaport acknowledged that there is also strong opposition to the cameras. Opponents are currently collecting signatures to ban the cameras statewide, and hope to place an initiative on the November ballot.
If passed, Star Valley would be mandated to remove its four cameras and thus lose a major source of revenue. Currently, the cameras are budgeted to bring in a million dollars in net revenue.
Rappaport said if the cameras were removed, the town “would still be in OK shape financially.”
“We would probably lose a portion of our revenue, but we are doing pretty well with our other sources of revenue,” he said.