5 Montgomery Councilmembers Support Bill to Dedicate Net Revenue from Speed and Red Light Cameras
Bill Proposed by Councilmember Phil Andrews Presents Funding Plan
to Help Purchase Fire Apparatus, For Pedestrian Safety and for Traffic Safety
ROCKVILLE, Md., November 18, 2008 – Four members of the Montgomery County Council are co-sponsoring a bill proposed by Council Vice President Phil Andrews that would provide a formula to use a portion of the net revenue generated by fines from traffic speed and red light cameras to help the future purchase of equipment for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.
In addition to chief sponsor Andrews, who is chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, Council President Mike Knapp and Councilmembers Valerie Ervin, Nancy Floreen and Duchy Trachtenberg have agreed to be co-sponsors of Bill 35-08.
The bill, which was introduced before the Council today, calls for allocating net revenue from speed and red light cameras to supplement County expenditures on public safety programs in the following manner:
• 50 percent to buy emergency apparatus by the County for use by the Fire and Rescue Service
• 35 percent for pedestrian safety programs in the County’s approved capital or operating budget (75 percent of these funds for County programs and 25 percent for pedestrian safety program grants to municipalities in the County that have a traffic control signal monitoring or a speed monitoring device in the municipality and do not have a police department)
• 15 percent for traffic safety programs in the approved capital or operating budget for the County’s Police Department
The bill states the County must not spend any of the net revenue to supplant existing County expenditures, in accordance to state law.
Maryland law requires the County to use any speed monitoring system net revenue for new public safety programs and not to supplant existing expenditures.
“The goal of this bill is create a dedicated revenue source for supplementing expenditures for currently underfunded public safety programs related to traffic and pedestrian safety,” said Councilmember Andrews. “The County Executive has posed the ambulance fee as the only way we could fund the purchase of new equipment for the Fire and Rescue Service. This bill shows a way that we could fund the purchase of much-needed equipment without implementing an ambulance fee, which most people in this County do not want.”
As proposed by the County Executive, a fee of between $300 and $800 would be charged for people transported by County ambulances. The plan calls for the fees to be charged to the health insurance companies of those insured. Non-County residents—whether visiting the County or those who work in the County, but live outside of Montgomery—would be responsible for paying the charges.