(Copy of a letter sent to the city and provided by the author to Patch.)
City of San Leandro
The newly proposed agreement with Redflex Traffic Systems for photo enforcement in San Leandro should not be approved. There are some flaws in the proposal.
1. There needs to be a better escape clause. Some Redflex contracts have required only a 30-day notice to cancel the contract after some initial period of time whereby Redflex can recover their capital outlay. Usually this no-cost cancellation is well within the first 5 years of the first contract. Redflex has already recovered their costs from San Leandro. As it stands now, San Leandro could be on the hook for many thousands of dollars should they want out.
2. You are being asked to pay too much rent. You need not pay even the reduced price of $5,200 per month for the existing 5 cameras. Other cities pay far less.
Oceanside: $3,052 per month Hawthorne $2,800 per month
Ventura $1,800 per month Santa Clarita $4,000 per month
Gardena $3,500 per month Garden Grove $2,900 per month
South Gate $2,829 per month Escondido $2,833 per month
Fremont $4,800 per month
3. There is no need for an 7+ year term. Especially with no better escape clause. The laws governing cameras are continually being challenged. California's legislature recently approved a reduction in fines for illegal right turns. While this bill was vetoed, a similar bill in the future will impact the city's ability to raise enough money through fines to pay for the cameras. Also, what if the City changes increases its yellow light timings or the law stipulates a longer yellow light at camera approaches. It has been shown that this alone can reduce violations by up to 80%. Cal Trans recently added a mere 7/10's of a second to just one yellow light in Fremont and that city will lose about $150,000 per year in net revenue. Again, this would impact San Leandro's ability to raise money to pay for cameras and the taxpayers may be on the hook for the difference for years.
Also, your negotiating position will be much improved by delaying ratification of a new contract at this time. Simply extend the current terms on a month-to-month basis while alluding to the city's interest in (a) not prosecuting right turn violations as aggressively due to the high fine to your residents during these harsh economic times, and (b) studying the effect that extending yellow light times may have on reducing red light running. Redflex can ill afford to lose another client city. Redflex has shown their rates are predicated on a city's ability to raise revenue through fines.