Meanwhile, city officials said last week that they have resolved a long-standing dispute with Xerox, agreeing to pay their former vendor $2.3 million. Xerox had run the city's red-light cameras since 1999 and began operating speed cameras in 2009 after the General Assembly legalized them. All told, Xerox says it pumped $140 million into city accounts.
The dispute began earlier this year, when Baltimore officials said they were refusing to pay Xerox for its final three months of work in 2012 because of a "number of disagreements" that stemmed from the rocky transition to Brekford in January.
After the change of vendors, Brekford found it couldn't operate the city's existing cameras because Xerox didn't leave behind the camera software. Xerox contended its software was proprietary. Brekford subsequently set up dozens of new cameras.
Documents show city lawyers reached a settlement with Xerox on Sept. 30. Harris, the mayor's spokesman, called the $2.3 million payment a "balance" between the two sides' views that is "fair" to city taxpayers.
"The payment made to Xerox under that agreement represents a balance between the compensation Xerox was entitled to ... and costs incurred by the City in the course of transitioning to a new program," he said in a statement.
Xerox spokesman Carl Langsenkamp declined to comment.
Though the camera program has fiscal implications, its purpose was to promote safety, city officials have insisted. By law the city speed cameras must be within a half-mile of a school.
Despite the goals, the city experienced a nearly 5 percent increase in traffic accidents from 2009 to 2012 — a span during which the city rolled out its speed cameras, according to state police.
City transportation officials played down the increase, pointing to statistics showing that the number of accidents fell at six intersections with speed cameras from 2009 to 2011.
When Baltimore put the camera program out to bid in 2012, Brekford offered the city about $2 million more in fine revenue over the five-year contract — $90.7 million versus the $88.8 million projected by Xerox. The amount of revenue pledged was the biggest factor in deciding a company's score during the bidding process, documents show.
Baltimore has paid Brekford for speed and red-light camera services once so far: $700,000 in August, according to city records. The city has said the invoice was a partial payment for Brekford's purchase of 72 speed camera units, for which the city agreed to pay $2.2 million.
City Councilman Brandon Scott said he has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 15 for the council to receive a briefing on the status of the cameras.
Leo Burroughs Jr., a traffic safety activist and president of the Memorial Apartments Residents Association in Bolton Hill , said Friday he believes the city should wait at least a year before resuming any speed camera program.
"We should suspend this camera business for a year or more until we're certain of what we're doing," Burroughs said. "This is a whole bunch of foolishness."
Nov. 7, 2012: Board of Estimates picks Brekford Corp. over Xerox State and Local Solutions to manage Baltimore's red-light and speed camera contract starting in 2013.
Nov. 18, 2012: The Baltimore Sun begins publishing a multi-part investigation that documents erroneous speed camera tickets from the Xerox system going back months.
Dec. 13, 2012: The Sun reveals that a Baltimore motorist received a speed camera ticket while stopped at a red light, the seventh camera shown to produce citations with wrong speed readings.
Dec. 15, 2012: Xerox discloses that five of Baltimore's 83 radar-equipped speed cameras had 5 percent error rates; city takes those cameras offline. All cameras go offline Jan. 1 amid Xerox's exit.
Feb. 20: City issues the first tickets using Brekford's new "tracking radar" speed cameras.
April 16: City says it has stopped issuing tickets after one Brekford camera is found programmed with the incorrect speed limit.
Oct. 30: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says Brekford is still not ready to resume issuing tickets, calls for "belt-tightening" to fill possible $15 million budget hole left by absence of camera ticket fines.