With Mayor Scott Cosper’s affirmative vote, the deadlocked Killeen City Council on Tuesday narrowly approved an enforcement measure for drivers who receive citations from red-light cameras throughout the city.
Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone and Councilmen Wayne Gilmore and Jose Segarra voted in favor of adding the enforcement measure, which will put a hold on a violator’s vehicle registration if the violator doesn’t pay a citation issued from the city’s red-light cameras.
Councilmen Jonathan Okray, Steve Harris and Terry Clark voted against the amendment. Cosper broke the 3-3 tie with a vote in favor of the measure.
Councilman Juan Rivera was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
The Texas Transportation Code, under Scofflaw, allows the city to put a hold on the vehicle registration of a motorist with outstanding fines. State law forbids municipalities from putting holds on driver’s licenses, and only allows for a hold on vehicles registered in Texas.
Clark, who has adamantly opposed the measure since it was introduced to the council during a Nov. 4 workshop meeting, said he doesn’t support the city doing business with RedFlex — the company that operates and maintains the cameras — at all.
“They’re losing the public’s trust nationwide,” Clark said. “I cannot, and will not, support the city of Killeen getting involved with a company that seems to be getting sketchier with each news report that comes out.”
In January, RedFlex found itself at the center of a scandal alleging the company used bribes to gain municipal contracts.
City officials told the Herald that Killeen “has not experienced any improprieties” with the company.
Jerris Mapes, assistant city attorney, said the program had a 63 percent collection rate from January to June, and as of Sept. 30, there were more than $4.6 million in outstanding violations.
“A rule, or law, that is not enforced is most likely not going to be obeyed, especially with time, once people learn it’s not going to be enforced,” she said. “It gets back to the heart of the issue, which is that if we enforce it, then we’re going to get compliance. If we get compliance, then we’ll get safer streets.”
Killeen’s red-light camera program was implemented in 2008, and since then the number of citations has decreased annually, with the exception of a spike in 2012, according to previous Herald reports.
The city collects nearly $300,000 annually from citations issued through the red-light program.