• Jacksonville red light cameras delivered $367K+ in profits

    By: Jenna Bourne

    Updated:

    $367,661 -- that’s how much profit the city and state made off of Jacksonville red light camera tickets last fiscal year.

    Action News Jax got these new numbers from the city after the sheriff told us last week the city was essentially breaking even:               

    Fiscal Year Net Revenue  Net Expenses   Profit
    10/1/14 – 9/30/15 $2,302,189        $1,934,528     $367,661
    10/1/13 – 9/30/14  $1,425,472    $1,180,781 $244,691

    “It's really net zero for us. We're not hardly making any money on it, but it's not costing any either. And you know, if it saves one life, it's worth it,” said JSO Sheriff Mike Williams on Jan. 20.

    The sheriff's office has a billion dollar budget.

    The cameras cost the city nearly $2 million to operate during the most recent fiscal year -- even more than the year before -- because the city added more cameras.

    A report from the state shows crashes are going up at Florida intersections with red light cameras.

    “The purpose of the red light cameras is not safety, it's money. In the past three years, 49 percent of revenue has gone to red light camera vendors,” said Miami.

    Republican Rep. Frank Artiles, who sponsored a bill that would get rid of red light cameras in Florida.

    That bill sailed through a state House committee last week.

    A state report shows out of the $158 a driver gets fined for a red light violation caught on camera, $75 go to the local government and $83 go to the state.

    That report breaks down how the profit from drivers caught by red light cameras is spent by local governments: 76 percent goes to the general fund, 14 percent goes to public safety and 5 percent goes to road repair.

    Action News Jax reached back out to the sheriff for his reaction to the city’s numbers. His assistant Lauri-Ellen Smith said Sheriff Williams would not be available for an interview Tuesday, but sent us this statement:

    “We support the use of red light cameras as a public safety measure that deters unlawful driving and is a means of correcting unsafe driving behaviors.

    According to our RESPECT THE RED webpage at jaxsheriff.org, SEVERAL new cameras came online in the last fiscal year (FY 2015). This would account for an increase in both the expense and revenue lines.

    From the beginning of the program we have been clear that it has NEVER been about the revenue for us. This revenue comes 100% from the infraction fines that are paid. That pays the state; pays for the cameras, their installation/maintenance; and THEN, if there is anything left, it goes to the city. The program has NO cost to taxpayers, it only impacts those who violate the traffic laws.”

    Next Up: