Council OKs use of speed cameras
By TAJUANA CHESHIER
April 8, 2009
On Tuesday the Jackson City Council voted 6 to 3 to approve the addition of speed cameras on the city's existing red-light cameras and the use of a mobile van equipped with a speed camera to move from place to place.
Bill Kroske, a spokesman with American Traffic Solutions, of Arizona, said it may take several months before the speed cameras are installed on the U.S. 45 Bypass at its intersections with Channing Way and Oil Well Road and at North Highland Avenue and its intersection at Carriage House Drive.
Jackson Police Chief Rick Staples said he didn't think a speed camera would be installed at the North Highland Avenue and Old Hickory Boulevard intersection because of the congestion that exists there.
American Traffic Solutions will provide the van, and the city will be responsible for insurance and providing a driver, Kroske said.
Staples said the city entered into an agreement with American Traffic Solutions three years ago.
"They wanted us to add speed cameras then, but we wanted to crawl before we walked," Staples said.
Staples told the city council that since the program began there have been no fatalities at the intersections. Speeding is a frequent complaint of city residents, he said.
The use of speed cameras and the mobile van would multiply the department's manpower, Staples said.
In other action, the council voted 7 to 2 to approve a resolution authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds not to exceed $6 million and to provide funding for certain public works projects.
Councilmen Frank Neudecker and Danny Ellis voted against the measure.
Neudecker said taking on the debt "is like going to the grocery store and paying with Visa."
Council members said the city has been working to reduce its debt and already has cut out travel and hiring.
The city would be borrowing $6 million and would be paying $2 million in interest spread out over a 15-year period.
In other council business, the city approved the use of empty city lots for the Community Gardens Project.
The project involves First United Methodist Church, Master Gardeners and the city of Jackson.
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The city will be initially involved in the preparation of plots, which will be selected based on whether the area will make a good garden.
Officials said they plan to scatter them throughout the city.
The city approved to transfer a city-owned surplus 1994 Ford Crown Victoria to the Jackson Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Executive director Wanda Stanfill said the local chapter is down to only one emergency vehicle that can be called out of town on other emergencies.
"The extra vehicle would be used to help us respond locally to things like residential fires," Stanfill said.
In an 8 to 1 vote, the council approved the installation of decorative power poles on East Main Street and East Baltimore Street.
The council also approved an ordinance to establish the Jackson Community Redevelopment Agency.
Councilman Harvey Buchanan asked that at least one representative from East and West Jackson serve since both areas are targeted for redevelopment.
The council also approved an amendment Neudecker made regarding absenteeism of those serving with the agency. If a representative misses three meetings, he or she will be removed.
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-Tajuana Cheshier, (731) 425-9643