Red Light Camera Money Matters

This article has been updated. Please see Red Light Cameras Money Matters More

Here are our previous red light camera articles:

1) Series Introduction
2) Why Lakeland? Why Now?
3) The Dilemma Zone?
4) Update
5) City Green Lights Cameras
6) Full Size Lakeland Red Light Camera Locations
7) Red Light Cameras Appear a Lock to be Installed
8) Red Light Cameras in Lakeland: The Costs and the Contract Approved
9) Red Light Camera Update



The red light cameras we’ve written about since March 2007 are now live in Lakeland. This morning the first 9 cameras started shooting citation photos and video. As previously noted, there will be no grace period.

However, we again would like to note a clarification to a Ledger article on the subject. Check the end of this column for a list of our previous articles on Lakeland’s red light cameras.

In Saturday’s Ledger, Rick Rousos wrote,

The city’s contract calls for Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to get all the money for the first paid citation generated by each camera, every day.

The company will receive $25 each for the second and third paid violations per camera per day and $10 for the fourth and all subsequent tickets. The city gets the rest.

That may give readers the false impression that ATS doesn’t collect if no one runs a red light at a particular intersection on a particular day. The tickets are placed in a monthly pool and collected using a formula: (Number of cameras * Number of days = equals one tier of tickets). See the full description in our Red Light Camera FAQ.

That means ATS collects the whole $125 of the first 270 citations of June, then $25 for each of the next 540 June citation, and, finally, $10 for every citation thereafter.

Take a look at how the first 810 citations will play out in Lakeland this month:

# citations 1-270 271-810
 Lakeland $0 $54,000
 ATS $33,750 $13,500


It doesn’t matter where they occur, if the cameras record less than 271 citations this month the city will make $0.

4 thoughts on “Red Light Camera Money Matters

  1. Respectfully, I don’t think your analysis of the way the money works is correct. I’ll grant that the agreement is worded in a confusing way. Nonetheless, I think the more accurate interpretation is that the citations will be averaged over all the cameras on a single day, not monthly. The reference to monthly in the agreement means the invoice frequency, not the fee calculation method, a different matter entirely.

    The invoicing example cited in the agreement is not helpful because, for those particular numbers, a monthly average and a daily average yield the same result.

    The only illuminating provision plainly says:

    “Fee structure for program is averaged across all operational cameras. (For example, if City has 10 operational cameras, Tier 1 would apply for the first 10 paid citations for the program PER DAY, etc.)” (emphasis added)

    Thus, the tiered pools are daily pools encompassing all the cameras, not monthly pools.

    The Agreement: http://www.lakelandgov.net/agendas/11-03-08/VI-C-3%20-%20AmericanTraffSolutionsAgmt.pdf

    … which isn’t to say there isn’t a possibility ATS will bill it the other way and the City will go with it – I’m just going by the text of the agreement and nothing else. If there is some other document that illuminates the parties’ intent I would appreciate you pointing it out.

  2. Respectfully, I don’t think your analysis of the way the money works is correct. I’ll grant that the agreement is worded in a confusing way. Nonetheless, I think the more accurate interpretation is that the citations will be averaged over all the cameras on a single day, not monthly. The reference to monthly in the agreement means the invoice frequency, not the fee calculation method, a different matter entirely.

    The invoicing example cited in the agreement is not helpful because, for those particular numbers, a monthly average and a daily average yield the same result.

    The only illuminating provision plainly says:

    “Fee structure for program is averaged across all operational cameras. (For example, if City has 10 operational cameras, Tier 1 would apply for the first 10 paid citations for the program PER DAY, etc.)” (emphasis added)

    Thus, the tiered pools are daily pools encompassing all the cameras, not monthly pools.

    The Agreement: http://www.lakelandgov.net/agendas/11-03-08/VI-C-3%20-%20AmericanTraffSolutionsAgmt.pdf

    … which isn’t to say there isn’t a possibility ATS will bill it the other way and the City will go with it – I’m just going by the text of the agreement and nothing else. If there is some other document that illuminates the parties’ intent I would appreciate you pointing it out.

  3. In November, I discussed the contract with Lakeland city Director of Communications Kevin Cook and city attorney Palmer Davis. At that point I discussed the numbers with them and wrote the formula based on that interview.

    If the city and ATS follow the contract as you state, that would alter the numbers. Especially if there are any days that fail to generate at least 9 citations.

    I’ll try to give Kevin a call this week and ask if the city would comment on your reading of the contract.

    For those who don’t want to load the PDF, the example cited is:

    Camera 1 generates 7 paid citations per day (210 per month)
    Camera 2 generates 1 paid citation per day (30 per month)
    Average for City is 4 paid citations per day per camera
    The invoice for the month would show 60 payments at $125 each, 120 payments at $25 each and 60 payments at $10 each.

    Not a great example as no camera is going to yield the exact same number of citations every day for a month.

  4. In November, I discussed the contract with Lakeland city Director of Communications Kevin Cook and city attorney Palmer Davis. At that point I discussed the numbers with them and wrote the formula based on that interview.

    If the city and ATS follow the contract as you state, that would alter the numbers. Especially if there are any days that fail to generate at least 9 citations.

    I’ll try to give Kevin a call this week and ask if the city would comment on your reading of the contract.

    For those who don’t want to load the PDF, the example cited is:

    Camera 1 generates 7 paid citations per day (210 per month)
    Camera 2 generates 1 paid citation per day (30 per month)
    Average for City is 4 paid citations per day per camera
    The invoice for the month would show 60 payments at $125 each, 120 payments at $25 each and 60 payments at $10 each.

    Not a great example as no camera is going to yield the exact same number of citations every day for a month.

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