The Board of Estimates, which is controlled by Mayor Catherine Pugh, is slated on Wednesday to approve using $4 million in speed camera fines — which came in on top of the $8 million that was budgeted — to help pay for unfunded overtime expenses in the fire department.
The city expects to collect $21.2 million this fiscal year from its camera network — nearly triple the amount budgeted for last year, and close to the record $31 million in fines issued in 2012. The system was shut down in 2013 for issuing erroneous tickets.
This is the city's third traffic camera program. In the first two, cameras issued erroneous tickets. A Baltimore Sun investigation in 2012 revealed several problems, including tickets issued to cars that were moving slowly or stopped altogether.
The city’s spending panel voted in June to use an extra $4 million generated by speed camera fines — on top of the $8 million in budgeted revenue from them — to help pay unfunded overtime expenses in the Fire Department.
By law, revenue from speed cameras must be used for public safety purposes, including pedestrian safety programs. Officials say supporting the Fire Department is an appropriate use of the funds.
Speed cameras, which issue tickets to cars driving at least 12 miles per hour over the speed limit, could be posted at the following locations as early as Aug. 13:
In 2013, Baltimore officials paid $2.2 million to purchase a fleet of speed cameras. In October — after the speed camera system had been shut down amid accuracy concerns — city officials decided to sell many of the cameras back: for $32,000.