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Red Light Camera Fees in Green Cove Springs: Who Gets What?

10:48 PM, Dec 12, 2011   |    comments
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GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- There are five red light cameras watching for law breakers in Green Cove Springs.

Police Chief Robert Musco said the cameras are working because people are starting to slow down and stop at red lights.

But not everyone is happy about the cameras.  "I was blown away. I had no idea that I had run a red light," said Alice Bennett, who got a ticket in the mail a couple of months ago.

Her fine is the standard $158 for a violation. "There's a phone number you call. What they want you to do is pick up the phone and call without contesting the ticket. They want you just to put it on your debit card and call it a day," said Bennett.

On a fixed income, Bennett said she couldn't do that.  She said she decided to take it to court.

Bennett said when she saw the pictures, "It looked like I ran the red light."

Her biggest concern was that when she went to court and pleaded not guilty, her fine went up.

"I'm paying a $262 fine, and I only have 30 days," said Bennett.

Green Cove Springs police officer William O'Daniel, one of two officers in charge of the program, said to date 11,887 tickets have been issued in only 10 months.

It's unclear how many have been tossed out.  Out of the standard $158 fine, $83 goes to the state. The city of Green Cove Springs takes the remaining $75.

The city has to pay an Arizona company running the cameras $4,850 a month per camera, which totals $24,250 a month.

"I wanted to see if I could opt for school," said Bennett.

No such luck for these civil tickets.  Out of the nearly 3,000 cases which have gone to court, 46 percent of them have actually been paid, bringing in more than $281,000.

"I think it's kind of cheating. I mean what are they paying police to do?" asked Bennett.

Duval County is planning on bringing red light cameras to the area.  The town of Orange Park is also considering the move.

First Coast News

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