Fire Apparatus, Pedestrian Safety, Traffic Safety Given Green
Light for Dedicated Use Of Montgomery Speed Camera Revenues
Opinion from State Attorney General’s Office Clears Path for
Bill 35-08 Sponsored by Majority of County Council
ROCKVILLE, Md., December 31, 2008—Maryland Assistant Attorney General Kathryn M. Rowe has informed the Montgomery County Council that revenues collected from speed cameras can be used to purchase emergency apparatus for use by the Montgomery Fire and Rescue Service, for pedestrian safety programs and for traffic safety programs.
A bill (Bill 35-08) sponsored by Council President Phil Andrews and Councilmembers Valerie Ervin, Nancy Floreen, Mike Knapp and Duchy Trachtenberg would dedicate speed and red light camera revenues for those purposes. “It is my view that Bill No. 35-08 is consistent with Maryland law,” wrote Ms. Rowe in a Dec. 22 letter.
Ms. Rowe’s recent opinion on speed camera revenue makes clear that a different opinion she issued in a Nov. 26 letter to State Delegate William Bronrott was based “in the context of a hypothetical proposal.”
In the Dec. 22 letter, Ms. Rowe wrote: “Bill No. 35-08 would provide that speed camera revenue would be directed to the purchase of emergency apparatus for use by the Fire and Rescue Service, pedestrian safety programs and traffic safety programs. Unlike the hypothetical proposal addressed in my earlier letter, the fire and safety expenditure is not directed to ongoing costs that are already covered by the County, but to the purchase of new equipment. It is my understanding that this would not supplant any current County expenditure. In fact, Bill 35-08 expressly states that the County “must not spend [speed camera revenue] to supplant existing County expenditures.” For these reasons, it is my view that Bill No. 35-08 would not violate the restriction in Section 2 of Chapter 15” of the Laws of Maryland 2006.
“We were always confident that the uses for speed and red light camera revenue as specified in Bill 35-08 were appropriate and we are glad that the attorney general’s office has confirmed this,” said Council President Andrews, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “Using the revenue in the manner stated in the bill will greatly enhance our efforts to protect the public. It also will ensure that any net revenues from speed cameras are dedicated to improving pedestrian and traffic safety and emergency response apparatus.”
Councilmember Ervin said that Bill 35-08 addresses long-term needs. “I am committed to do all that I can to promote public safety, and we must make sure that these critical needs are not forgotten during these tight fiscal times,” she said. “Implementing the County’s comprehensive Pedestrian Safety Initiative is not a one-time expenditure. We need a multi-year commitment with a dedicated funding stream to develop and construct the interconnected infrastructure needed to create the safe and walkable communities that our residents want and deserve.”