County outlines plans for automated cameras

Weber said motorists need to focus on speed, not revenue


LEE COUNTY – Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber is drawing a line with speeding in the county.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, the board approved the first ordinance allowing Weber to install speed cameras along corridors where speeding and fatalities are more prevalent.

The board also approved how it will allocate the revenue generated from the speed cameras.

The county has been kicking around the idea of bringing in the cameras for most of the year, but board Chairman Garry Seyb wanted to make sure the revenue was allocated in a manner that didn’t just dump the funds into the general fund with no oversight.

Weber told the board people need to stop focusing on the revenue and instead focus on reducing speed.

“I want everyone to focus on the fact that there is large revenue from this because people are not obeying the speed limit which is the cause of the problems we’re seeing on that stretch of road and another road where I want to put them,” Weber said.

“People need to stop for a second and realize that. This isn’t road piracy. When I entered into this program, we had no idea how much money they brought in. We had no idea how many people actually were speeding and we looked at the state numbers and did our own speed study.

“People traveling through our good county are not obeying the speed limit. There aren’t stopping at Casey’s - there’s only one in Donnellson. Other than that they're not stopping. They’re driving through at 20 plus miles per hour over the speed limit.”

The county’s ordinance spells out civil fines for speeding starting at 12 mph over the speed limit, but Weber said that doesn’t mean that deputies won’t pull you over for doing less than that.

Motorists traveling from 12 to 15 mph over the speed limit could face a $100 fine; 16-20 mph would be $150; 21-25 mph over the speed limit will result in a $200 fine and anything over 26 mph over the speed limit is $250. Fines are doubled if the cameras are in construction zones.

Revenue from citations less the vendor’s fee will be deposited in a separate interest-bearing account. At the end of the 3rd quarter of each fiscal year, the county will deposit at least 25% into a County Reserve/Emergency Fund. After that deposit, any overtime expenses incurred by the sheriff’s department for expert testimony/witness will be paid. Also 1% of the fees collected annually will got to Crimestoppers, 1% to the Lee County K9 Association, 1% to Lee County Narcotics Task Force; 1% to Lee County Attorney’s Office, 1% to Lee County Auditor’s office; 1% to Lee County EMS Ambulance, 1% to Lee County Secondary Roads, 5% to Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Additional funds may be used at the discretion of the board of supervisors.

“This is a countermeasure that we worked collaboratively on with our secondary roads, our county engineer, and the DOT. Again, we’re knee-deep in fatalities. We’re second in the entire state,” Weber said. 

He said there is no upfront cost to the taxpayers, but a portion of the revenue comes off the top for the vendor to operate and monitor the cameras.

Lee County Attorney Ross Braden, who helped draw up the ordinance, said the company that the county uses to install and monitor the cameras will take their share of revenue off the top before funds are sent to the county. The company absorbs the costs of installation and signage for the equipment.

Seyb said people blow by him when he travels Hwy. 27, one of the stretches of highway planned for the cameras, where he works.

“It reminds me of the Autobahn in Germany when I was a young man over there. You’re looking in the rearview mirror and you say, ‘That dude’s cooking.’ These guys are literally doing 85, 90, 95 miles per hour,” Seyb said.

Seyb said the focus should not be the money, but as a board member it will generate money and he wants to make sure the money goes to good use in the county.

“I don’t want it to get ground up in the budget so to speak,” Seyb said.

He said he also didn’t want it to blow a hole in the budget if they put it in the general fund. There, if the state could make it illegal, or even take a cut of the revenue it would leave the county without projected funds.

"The reason I have repeatedly said no no no is that we talked about possibly putting them into a resolution or a standard operating procedure, but I held fast that it be an ordinance, because ordinance is law.

“It stands to be a large chunk of money and it’s good we are making our intentions clear and we took time to pause.”

Lee County, Fort Madison, Keokuk, cameras, speeding, Supervisors, Sheriff Stacy Weber, news, Pen City Current,


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