When Yuba City began using automated cameras in 2006 to catch motorists who run red lights, the action was described as a way to raise revenue for the city while making intersections safer. While the latter mission has been accomplished, based on declining numbers of crashes and red-light violations, the fiscal results have gone in the other direction – rather than raising revenue for the city, the cameras cost the city more than $10,000 a month.
The city now owes nearly $500,000 to Redflex, the contractor that operates the city's three red-light cameras. Adding insult to injury, that money will be sent out of California to Arizona, where the contractor is based.
Under the city's contract with Redflex, the taxpayers pay more than $6,100 per camera, per month. The three cameras, combined, have resulted in tickets that have generated an average of $8,440 per month. Although the city hasn't paid a full invoice to Redflex since April 2008, the city will only have to pay its balance for 12 months if it lets its contract expire. (Source: The Sacramento Bee, May 15.)