Published January 19, 2007
LOGANVILLE — With a 5-1 vote, the first reading of an ordinance that would bring red-light cameras to the City of Loganville passed with little fanfare at last week’s city council meeting.

Councilman Austin Jones cast the only dissenting vote.

But even as Loganville moves forward with the implementation of red-light cameras in the city, Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) introduced legislation last week that, if passed, would repeal the state legislation that allowed them in the first place. However, law enforcement officials don’t expect that bill to go anywhere.

“I checked with the Chief’s Association on House Bill 77 and they said they will obviously vigorously oppose it, but they really don’t expect it to go anywhere,” said Loganville Police Chief Mike McHugh.

In the meantime, the city is moving ahead with plans to put the cameras in on Highway 78 at the intersection of Highway 81 as well as the “no turn on red” signal at the same intersection.

The second reading at February’s city council meeting, if approved, would open the door to have the cameras installed.

The City Council also voted to give the mayor the authority to sign the contract with Laser Craft, the company that would supply and maintain the cameras for the city, as soon as negotiations were finalized.

Three people spoke up at the public hearing last Monday night with much of the dissent concentrating on whether the proposal was revenue generating rather than a safety issue. Laser Craft had produced figures from other cities around the state and the country that supported the position that red-light cameras result in a reduction of traffic violations, accidents, injuries and fatalities. Jones said that was the first time he had heard any talk of safety and gave that as his reason for voting against the measure.

Mayor Tim Barron said he wouldn’t have supported the measure had there not been sufficient evidence to support the safety aspects associated with the use of red-light cameras.

He confirmed at the public hearing that a 30-day period would be in place with violators receiving warnings instead of fines before any actually fines would be levied. He also advised that the activation of the cameras would be well publicized. Current state legislation only allows that fines be collected without any adverse points being incurred on licenses or insurance rates.

Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said he was vigorously opposed to any legislation that would repeal red-light cameras.

“When they have worked so well in Snellville with an obvious reduction of accidents and injuries at the intersections where they are installed, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to repeal them,” Oberholtzer said. “There is a cost to running public safety departments and policing the laws that are there for the safety of the citizens. Why would anyone object to cities or counties fining people who break those laws and using the funds to help pay the costs involved in trying to enforce them?