ARNOLD • The city will keep issuing tickets to red-light runners caught on camera, but will erase the fine for those who show up to court to contest tickets and won’t go after those who ignore the citations.
However, the city will keep the money from anyone who gets a ticket and pays the fine.
The Arnold City Council voted unanimously Thursday to not pursue tickets from the controversial cameras.
The action comes after the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District ruled in December that Arnold’s red-light camera law is unconstitutional and counter to state law. Similar rulings have been handed down on photo-enforcement programs in other cities.
Several area communities late last year suspended sending citations until legal issues are clarified. Those cities include Creve Coeur, Hazelwood, St. Ann, Northwoods and Calverton Park.
“We’re all hoping the (Missouri) Supreme Court takes this,” Arnold City Administrator Bryan Richison said of determining the legality of the cameras, echoing what many have said — that clarification is needed after a patchwork of rulings and differing city laws.
Arnold was the first city in Missouri to install the cameras in 2005 and a federal lawsuit challenging them was dismissed in 2009. Drivers receive tickets costing $94.50, but the violations do not result in points against their driving record.
American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona company that runs the cameras, receives about one-third of the penalty paid for each ticket.
Arnold will continue to operate its cameras and will send tickets, Richison said. Those who get tickets and come to their court date will get the ticket dismissed. And no warrants for failing to appear will be issued for those who ignore their tickets, which had been a past policy, he said.
But those who pay the fine won’t get their money back, he said.
“We’re under contract with ATS, and the contract says we have an obligation to issue tickets,” Richison said.
The city’s contract with ATS is up for renewal in June.
Matt Hay, an opponent of red-light cameras who founded the website WrongOnRed.com, pointed out that Kansas City, which also has a contract with ATS, stopped issuing red-light camera tickets until the legality of the cameras is clarified.
“It makes me wonder why Arnold decides to take a different tact,” said Hay, a former City Council member. “It basically to me seems like a money grab to keep the dollars flowing.”
The Jefferson County Council banned the cameras in 2011 in unincorporated areas of the county.