Manatee officials plan to review new red light camera fees

skennedy@bradenton.comMay 8, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee County will recalibrate its red-light ordinances after Florida lawmakers OK'd changes potentially adding fees up to $408 for a driver who appeals a citation generated by the high-tech camera system.

The base fee of $158 per violation will remain but the Legislature has allowed communities to tack on up to $250 to cover the cost of appeals, said Manatee County Attorney Mitchell "Mickey" Palmer.

"Assuming this becomes law July 1, we will be taking a fresh look at our red light camera ordinance to do the things we need to do," said Palmer Tuesday during a county commission meeting.

The high-tech cameras work in conjunction with a traffic signal, photographing violators at an intersection after the light has changed to red. Citations are sent after the violators are identified through their license plates.

The additional fees will cover the cost of appeals, which will be handled by a local hearing officer, Palmer said.

In 2012, Manatee County decided to install red-light cameras at seven intersections in unincorporated areas. The city of Bradenton also operates such a system.

"Each individual community must address it in their own way," said Commissioner John Chappie. "Our legal department will probably

be looking at it to see what we have to do as a community to act on what Tallahassee once again is telling us to do."

A 2010 law authorizing the statewide use of red-light cameras was named in honor of Manatee County resident Mark Wandall, who was killed by a red-light runner in 2003.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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