Traffic Laws Photo Enforced Maple Heights

Update on Speed Cameras and City Finances

 UPDATE: More information about the Speed Cameras can be found on our Traffic Cameras in Maple Heights page. 

 

Speed Cameras

Signs have are being posted at all roads leading into Maple Heights warning motorists that traffic laws are photo enforced. Currently the city is in the 30 day “notification” period. In late July, speeding motorists will start receiving tickets.

Traffic Camera warning sign on Broadway in Maple Heights.While the legislation passed City Council unanimously, many residents are opposed – so much so that a petition is being circulated to get a Charter Amendment on the November ballot to outlaw traffic cameras according to the July 2, 2014 Neighborhood News. Mrs. Wilburn who is heading up the campaign believes that the speed camera’s will hurt business’ in the City, because patrons will simply stop coming due to the presence of the  traffic cameras. She also believes that violators won’t pay. Others speculate that revenue from the cameras will be short lived due to pending legislation at the state level.

On the other hand, those who don’t speed have nothing to worry about.

Special Council Meeting: June 25, 2014

Last week a Committee of the Whole Meeting was changed to a Special Meeting. On the agenda, was more than half a dozen pieces of legislation. You can watch the video on our YouTube Channel. (Click on the following time-codes to view that section of the video.)

2014-25: Decreasing Council to 5 members- 3rd Reading & Vote (1:37)

UPDATE (August 25,2014): While, Council President Albers was called upon to break the tie, this piece of legislation will not appear on the November ballot because Charter Amendments need 2/3 approval by council to sent to the voters.

2014-26: Eliminating the elected position of Council President – 3rd Reading & Vote (3:31)

These proposed Charter amendments are to reduce council from 7 to 5 members and to eliminate the position of council president both passed and therefore will be placed on the November ballot. The first resulted in a tie with councilpersons from districts 1, 2 and 3 voting for and councilpersons from 4, 6 and 7 against. Council President broke the tie by voting for it. District 5’s councilman had been excused from the meeting (prior to the meeting being revised from a committee of the whole to a special meeting on June 23rd) and could potentially have swung the vote the other way.

Reducing councilpersons from 7 to 5 would result in a cost of $3,000 to $5,000 to have the city redistricted, but would have a savings of around $20,000 annually. However, residents would have less representation. Eliminating Council President would save the city $15,000, annually.

If the Council President position is eliminated by electors, Council would elect a president from within. This is how both the Maple School’s Board of Education and the City of Garfield Heights operate.

2014-44: Reducing the Tax Credit from 100% to 25% (Amended to 50% on the floor by Councilman Adams) – 3rd Reading & Vote (6:00)

An amendment to reduce the income tax credit from 100% to 50% was passed by council. This would raise the income tax paid by residents who live in Maple, but work outside the city. For example residents who work in a city that has a 2% income tax will end up paying an additional 1% in income tax, for a total of 3.5% instead of the current 2.5%. With this tax increase, the burden is being placed solely on working residents.

2014-46: Transfer Solid Waste Fund to General Fund – 2nd Reading (11:23)
2014-47: Retain Solid Waste Fund as is – 2nd Reading (12:07)
2014-48: Rules of Council – 2nd Reading (12:44)

2014-49: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Auditors -1st (and final) Reading (14:02)
2014-50: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Electors -1st Reading (17:05)
2014-51: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- City Expense- to Auditors -1st (and final) Reading (17:41)
2014-52: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Electors -1st Reading (19:02)

Two additional taxes were also brought forward that would total a 6 mil property tax increase for 5 years. Council voted to have the county “run the numbers” so that they can see how much revenue they would generate.

A brief discussion ensued about if the income tax amendment that was just passed could be withdrawn if council passed the property tax amendments or if both should be placed on the ballot for residents to decide.

2014-53: Expenses approved by Council to $500 – 1st Reading (19:36)

This legislation was withdrawn by the introducing member.

 Then We Waited (and waited) for the Finance Director

A “5 minute” recess was called when Ms. Crowell had not yet arrived (20 minutes into the meeting) to present the financial information that was pertinent for the remaining issues on the agenda: discussion about the 2014 amended appropriations and the 2015 tax budget. When she finally did arrive 25 minutes later and pass out documents (which she didn’t have enough of) one of the date stamps said 6:30 PM 6/25/2014.

Things that we learned during the discussion with the Finance Director.

  • Expectation by the Auditor that we present a balanced budget.
  • Councilman Cefaratti pointed out that there is still a $900,000 deficit on the “drafts” Ms Crowell passed out and that includes a projection of $400,000 of revenue from the traffic cameras for the remainder of the year.
  • There was an (ironic) projected increase in revenue for the solid waste fund, since recycling was just eliminated to “save money”.
  • Consolidated Dispatch Center is expected to be up and running January 2015.
  • Even though there have been many layoffs and resignations we aren’t experiencing the full financial benefit of those because many of those old employees are receiving payouts.

Special Meeting and Public Hearing scheduled for July 7, 2014 at 6 PM in the Senior Center

Meeting Agenda:

  • 2014-46: Transfer Solid Waste Fund to General Fund – 3rd Reading
  • 2014-47: Retain Solid Waste Fund as is – 3rd Reading
  • 2014-50: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Electors -2nd Reading
  • 2014-52: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Electors -2nd Reading
  • 2014-54: 2014 Amended Appropriations – 1st Reading
  • 2014-55: Tax Budget for 2015 – 1st Reading and Public Hearing
  • 2014-56: Transferring Contingency Fund (102)* to General Fund – 1st Reading

*The Contingency Fund (102) has a balance of $121,000 according to the documents passed out on June 25th.

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6 Responses to Update on Speed Cameras and City Finances

  1. Jessie Burton July 7, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    The use of speed cameras (in many cities and states) is under fire for being unconstitutional. In addition to, and at issue 1. where the cameras are used (in too many instances, predominantly poor and/or heavily minority areas) 2. the fact the registered car owner (who may not be the driver) is cited 3. the appeal process (of appealing the traffic ticket) 4. Green Light Yellow Light Traps 5. *Harm to the local economy 6. Photo radar cameras where the speed changes abruptly, and then 7. there’s the issue with speed camera errors

  2. New Rome Sucks July 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    I wish I lived near enough to deliberately NOT shop in Maple Heights.

  3. Kevin August 4, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    I received a $100 ticket on the 27 and a $100 ticket on the 28 for going 36 in a 25 on the way to work. I was traveling with the flow of traffic and unaware of the new enforcement. I will now avoid Maple Heights all together. I am sure the local government will make a lot of money, but this cannot be good for businesses.

  4. Jason Sonenshein August 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    Your assertion that “… those who don’t speed have nothing to worry about” is not true. Traffic revenue cameras ticket the owner of the car, not necessarily the driver. Even if you don’t speed, someone else’s speeding while driving your car will result in your getting a ticket. This gives you something to worry about even if you don’t speed.

    Those who don’t speed might also want to consider that traffic revenue cameras often issue tickets erroneously. An audit in Baltimore found that 10.6% of speeding tickets issued by cameras in Baltimore were faulty and another 25.6% of tickets were questionable. (source: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/43/4317.asp ) If you receive one of these faulty tickets, you don’t have the same right to confront your accuser that you would if you were issued a real ticket by a real police officer. You also don’t have the same right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Don’t fall for the lies that proponents of traffic revenue cameras tell. Vote YES to ban the cameras in November.

  5. magorium47 August 6, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    I work in Maple quite often. I eat lunch there usually at Taco Bell, B&M, Wendy’s, multiple times a week…. or used to. I buy 26 gallons of gas a week at Speedway On Rockside…. or used to.

    Good thing I also work in Garfield and Independence. With Beford also right close, I can go to any of the other cities for food, gasoline, and day to day spending like soda and smokes.

    Good on Mrs. Wilburn for taking the lead in getting the issue on the ballot. Boot them effing cams out of your city like Garfield and South Euclid did!

    Don’t forget that East Cleveland with their cams are losing money.

  6. Clare August 7, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    I also received two tickets on seperate days for going 36 in a 25. Interesting that this number continues to appear. I think that going with the flow of traffic should reveal that a traffic engineer needs to evaluate the speed limits because they are set very low. I too will no longer go through Maple unless I absolutely need too.

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