City of Clewiston resumes red-light camera use

At their last regular meeting, Clewiston City Commissioners approved an amendment to the city’s contract with American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the company that supplies Clewiston with its two red-light traffic cameras.

With the approval of the amendment, the city resumed the use of the red-light cameras at midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 28 and will once again issue uniform traffic citations to offending drivers.

Commissioners voted to suspend the use of the red-light cameras about two months ago after concerns were raised about how violations were being reviewed and citations issued.

As advised by city attorney Charles Schoech, the revised contract addresses issues that were recently brought to light by a case out of Broward County heard in the Fourth District Court of Appeals — that ATS does not have the authority to choose which suspected violations should be reviewed by the municipality or the authority to issue citations to drivers.

According the Attorney Schoech, the amended contract could help protect the city if it were ever faced with a lawsuit regarding the uniform traffic citations, and ATS advised it would help defend the city in the courtroom if needed.

The city’s contract with ATS is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016. The city has already given advance notice to ATS not to renew the contract after it expires, but until then, the city is on the hook to pay about $9,000 to ATS every month.

In the past, the city has paid its monthly bill with revenues brought in by the uniform traffic citations. Since no citations were issued since the city suspended red-light camera use in November 2014, the city may have to find that money elsewhere.

But as Attorney Schoech pointed out at the meeting, it’s “better to lose out on two months than two years.”

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