Contract for school zone speed cameras comes under fire

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Under the new agreement, for each $75 speeding ticket issued, Verra is set to get $25, with the city getting $33 and APS $17.

Bond’s resolution criticized that deal, saying the city should consider all options.

“The goal is noble. We should act with expediency to make sure that these school zones are safe,” Bond said in an interview Monday. “At the same time, in our urgency, we just shouldn’t leapfrog the process, not knowing if we’re getting the right kind of skill and value for this type of work.”

With the city getting a cut of each ticket issued, the agreement could generate millions of dollars for the city and school system and should be subject to a competitive bidding process, he said.

RedSpeed sent a letter to APS in January objecting to the process. It also pushed for a competitive bidding process.

ExploreSchool zone speed cameras arrive in Georgia due to recent law

The agreement “would subject both APS and the city of Atlanta to unnecessary scrutiny and jeopardy, at a time when the city of Atlanta is trying to turn the corner on a multi-year federal corruption probe,” Michael McAllister, who does government relations work for RedSpeed, wrote in the letter, which was obtained through a Georgia Open Records Act request. The letter was also sent to the city.

The school district said in a statement Monday that its legal team “is reviewing this matter and will respond, if appropriate, at a later date.”

The city of Brookhaven approved a partnership with RedSpeed last year.

The city of Brookhaven approved a partnership with RedSpeed last year.

Credit: City of Brookhaven

Credit: City of Brookhaven

Atlanta City Attorney Nina Hickson and Chief Procurement Officer Martin Clarke both told Council members during Monday’s meeting that APS is responsible for the contract and selecting a company, since Georgia law requires schools to apply for a permit to install speed cameras.

RedSpeed says that interpretation is false. The firm argues that the city should manage the contract since they have jurisdiction over many of the roads in Atlanta and the city’s police department and municipal court would write the tickets and issue any fines.

Over the past few years, RedSpeed has partnered with dozens of city and county governments across the state to launch school zone camera programs. RedSpeed typically takes a 35% cut of ticket revenues, the rest goes to local government.

“We are trying to make sure the citizens of Atlanta get the best deal by competitive bidding of a six year, $100 million contract and the city maintains control over a vendor that will be working with the police department every day enforcing traffic laws,” McAllister said in a statement Monday. “The law requires it and we know the citizens rightly expect and deserve that.”

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