City to keep red light cameras in Cocoa Beach

City Commission votes to renegotiate contract with American Traffic Solutions

By Sheli Muniz - Reporter, Justin Warmoth - Anchor

COCOA BEACH, Fla. - Red light cameras in Cocoa Beach will stay for another year after efforts to get rid of them failed Thursday night.

The City Commission voted Thursday to renegotiate the contract with American Traffic Solutions when it expires in April.

Right now, there are three cameras in the city along A1A: Fischer Park, S.R. 520 and Shepard Drive.

After years of complaints, Cocoa Beach Mayor Dave Netterstrom and several other commissioners wanted them taken down.

About a year ago, commissioners wanted to pull the plug on the cameras, but City Manager Bob Majka said it would've cost the city upwards of $225,000.

Now, since the contract is up in April, it would only cost around $15,000.

Cocoa Beach resident Ed Martinez recounted the time he got a red light ticket as he rushed someone to the hospital.

"It was about 3 o'clock in the morning, and I was making a left turn and the red light camera went on, and I got the bill in the mail a couple of weeks later, and I said, 'Oh yeah, I remember that night," said Martinez.

"People who really are dangerous are going to commit dangerous maneuvers whether the cameras are there or not," said Netterstrom.

City leaders said how helpful they've been with improving safety is arguable. The Cocoa Beach Police Chief presented data that suggested crashes have decreased at the intersections, but the mayor said it was marginal on if the cameras were saving lives.

Dee Hodnett, a resident of Cocoa Beach, likes the idea of the cameras.

"I understand that they are getting a lot of complaints, but just like they said in there, if you're complaining, you're complaining because you got a ticket. You got a ticket because you ran a red light," Hodnett told Local 6.

For residents like Martinez, they believe it's a tough call in a tourist town.

"Everybody who lives in Cocoa Beach, this is a small community, we know where the lights are. We're stopping," said Martinez. "It's the people who are trying to find their way to Ron Jon's or any of these other places."

Cocoa Beach officials said the city has netted $40,000 a year from the tickets.

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