The mayor Garfield Heights, Ohio can expect some nasty messages from Redflex and ATS on his voicemail when he gets into the office on Monday morning. You see, these corporations don’t like it when you deviate from the focus group-tested talking points that their high-priced spin doctors have put together over the years. Mayor Thomas Longo was a bit too honest for his own good when the Cleveland Plain Dealer asked him what his motivation was on Monday in ramming a plan through the city council that will envelop Garfield Heights in red light cameras and speed cameras:
“You really don’t want to say we did it for finances, but really we are,” he said.
The traffic cameras have generated money from fines everywhere they are used, he said. Garfield Heights would join other cities, including Cleveland, East Cleveland and Akron, that who have added them since 2005.
City Council President Frank Wagner said the council was pressured into passing the plan this week and is not sure if it will approve the cameras. He said the proposal was a “complete shock” when he learned of it Friday before having to vote on it Monday under a state deadline.
The plan is expected to add a cool $1 million in cash to the city’s bank account, taking care of nearly one-third of the $3.4 million municipal deficit. Of course, either Redflex or ATS will be in a forgiving mood if they can land the contract to run this new program. Nothing like a little cash to settle a feud between old friends.