The decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is a reminder that Palm Coast is still not clear of the legal shambles that have surrounded the cameras. That class-action suit can now go forward, with drivers claiming they’d been wrongly fined.
A court upheld Aventura’s program, which relies on police, not the private contractor, to make decisions about ticketing motorists. But the court wants the supreme court to decide the issue more finally.
Sen. Jeff Brandes’ measure would repeal a law known as the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act of 2010 and, as a result, prevent local governments from using the cameras for traffic enforcement.
Palm Coast’s decision not to settle a lawsuit against it had looked like a mistake once the Supreme Court ruled red-light cameras illegal, until the plaintiff died and was not replaced on the lawsuit, allowing the city to slither out of the it.
The proposal and one like it in the Senate would further complicate Palm Coast’s troubled red-light camera program and its relationship with ATS, the private company running the local scheme. Right-turn on red tickets generate the majority of revenue.
The city would also reduce all operating cameras from 43 to just five. But it would also see its revenue per camera drop, from the current $700 per month to $350 per month. The city’s revenue from the cameras would drop from $361,000 to $21,000.
After coming close to suspending its red-light camera [program, the Palm Coast City Council has retreated, again exposing a willingness to do its camera vendor’s bidding before looking after its residents’ interests.
Fearful of a lawsuit from ATS, its red-light camera provider. the Palm Coast City Council says it would reduce the cameras from 43 to five, but not eliminate them, even if it means ending all its revenue from the cameras but preserving that of ATS.
By all appearances from the council’s discussion this morning, the council is ready to end its program as it is now configured, with a final decision to be taken on March 3.
While still issuing $158 fines for red-light violations, Palm Coast is for now no longer pursuing drivers who refuse to pay, so those drivers will not get the steeper $264 traffic citation. But those citations may be issued pending the outcome of a court case.