AUGUST 16, 2005 -- The red light cameras in Wilmington will keep on clicking. The Wilmington City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to put aside any consideration of turning them off.
There is some controversy over how the money generated by the cameras should be distributed. The controversy started earlier this year when a judge ruled 90% of the proceeds from the red light camera program in High Point must go to Guilford County schools.
Now school boards across the state say they are entitled to the money from red light cameras. Right now, the fines paid by drivers who run red lights cover the cost of the program.
City Attorney Tom Pollard says the city would have to pay the county schools $32,000 a month if the High Point decision is upheld on appeal. Some council members say the benefits of the program outweigh the costs.
"The safety of our citizens is more important than making a quick judgment. We are still waiting for the High Point situation to be resolved, and we're looking to work with the school system," says Katherine Moore.
"We're going to try and find some creative solutions to keep that program going, even if it means we have to find ways to pay for it locally," says Jason Thompson.
"The school board has been placed in an awkward position. We are willing to work with the city, but we want them to follow the law," says School Board Chairman Don Hayes.
Members of the Wilmington City Council say the cameras are highly effective in catching people who run red lights. They plan to keep the cameras in operation as long as possible.