You’ve been warned: Mount Carmel’s red light cameras to begin issuing citations next month

Jeff Bobo • Updated Jun 20, 2018 at 9:47 AM

MOUNT CARMEL — When Mount Carmel's newly activated red light enforcement cameras begin issuing real citations on July 15, they're expected to generate more revenue annually than the city's defunct Highway 11-W speed cameras in four of the six years before they were deactivated.

The new red light cameras on Highway 11-W at the Hammond Avenue intersection went online Friday, and they will be issuing warnings through July 15.

After July 15, anyone caught on camera running a red light on 11-W in Mount Carmel will receive a $50 fine, $22 of which will go back to the city, while $28 goes to Redflex Traffic Systems, which owns and maintains the cameras.

Prior to installing the cameras, Redflex conducted a study at that intersection. Based on the results, the company predicts that Mount Carmel will generate $50,000 annually from the cameras.

That translates into about 2,272 citations per year, or an average of a little more than six per day.

Mount Carmel’s 11-W speed enforcement cameras were installed in 2008, with one being located on 11-W and Englewood for eastbound traffic and one at 11-W and Independence for westbound traffic.

During their nine years of operation, the cameras generated more than $600,000 in revenue for Mount Carmel.

In 2016-17, their last full year of implementation, the speed enforcement cameras on 11-W generated $55,930 for Mount Carmel.

Prior to that, there were four consecutive fiscal years of speed camera revenue under $50,000, including $45,291 in 2015-16; $39,583 in 2014-15; $47,193 in 2013-14; and $46,456 in 2012-13.

In 2008-09, their first full year, the speed cameras generated $162,106 but dropped steadily each year as awareness grew — to $127,830 in 2009-10; $74,474 in 2010-11; and $58,977 in 2011-12.

For three quarters of the 2018-19 fiscal year, Redflex had recommended the city anticipate $35,000 in red light camera citation revenue, although Mount Carmel City Manager Mike Housewright said he felt it would be better to insert a conservative figure.

Housewright said the city is budgeting $25,000, which accounts for only nine months worth of collections.

Although real citations will be issued as of July 15, actual collections probably won't start coming in until around October.

But Housewright said revenue isn't the motive for installing the red light cameras.

Last year, the Mount Carmel Police Department conducted its own study at the 11-W and Hammond Avenue red light and observed 19 violations over a 12 hour period.

"The purpose of the red light camera is safety, and I can tell you that it is much needed due to the frequency and the seriousness of the traffic accidents we have at that location," Housewright told the Times News on Tuesday. "That is probably the most problematic intersection in the whole town. It's not unusual to be sitting here at City Hall and hear tires screech and a loud bang, and we look out there and someone has been rear-ended or gone through the red light."

He added, "The ultimate goal is to increase the general level of awareness at that intersection and improve safety there."

A new red light is expected to be installed in front of the Tennessee National Guard Armory on 11-W at the Englewood Avenue intersection.

When that light is up and running, city leaders have already said they want to install red light enforcement cameras there as well.

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