Speed-camera contractor paid per citation
By Tom LoBianco
March 31, 2008
ANNAPOLIS — A state lawmaker says Montgomery County is "exploiting a loophole" in state law designed to keep speed-camera operators from profiting off the number of speeding tickets issued.
"Some of our residents are starting to get the sense [speed cameras] are a cash cow, and we need to do everything in reason to assure them that is not the case," said Delegate Saqib Ali, Montgomery Democrat.
State lawmakers in 2006 granted Montgomery County the authority to place speed cameras — which photograph motorists violating the posted speed limit — throughout the county and to issue citations that carry $40 fines.
The county reached an agreement in 2006 with Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services Inc. (ACS) on a camera system that deploys six vans with speed cameras and 13 stationary speed cameras, as of December. County officials plan to expand to 30 fixed speed cameras by the end of the year.
According to Transportation Article 21-809(j) of the Maryland Code, "If a contractor operates a speed monitoring system on behalf of Montgomery County, the contractor's fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid."
County officials declined a request from The Washington Times to obtain a copy of the contract with ACS.
But according to the minutes of a Jan. 29, 2007, meeting of the Rockville City Council, during which legislators approved a "rider bid" to install cameras in the city as part of the ACS contract with the county, ACS gets paid "$16.25 per paid citation for each fixed site and $16.25 per paid citation or $2,999.00 per month per deployed mobile unit whichever is greater."
"I was shocked," Mr. Ali said about learning of the per-ticket amount paid to the contractor. "I think it should stop."