Tammy Mutasa, Garland Reporter
The City of Garland just discovered it spent $282,000 on three red light cameras that were never installed.
Garland has discovered in an audit that it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on three red-light cameras that never snapped a picture.
The cameras were not installed between 2007 and 2009, but the city paid $282,000 in monitoring and administrative costs.
"The concern was, we had three cameras that were inoperable for 19 months, and yet we were paying a red-light vendor fee for cameras that were not working," said Councilman Rick Williams, chair of the Audit Committee.
However, the money would not be not wasted. The company that runs the red-light cameras will apply the $282,000 to other costs for the program.
The three cameras in question were at intersections that needed Texas Department of Transportation approval. The city had nine other working cameras at the time.
"We had right-of-way state streets or highways that we were placing those on that go through Garland, so we were waiting on permission to be able to put those on those driveways," Garland police spokesman Officer Joe Harn said. "That took longer than what the city was anticipating was going to."
The city said its red-light camera program has changed hands a few times, but the oversight would not happen again.
"I think we learned that we can do a better job, and I think we're going to do that," Williams said. "We're going to get a better contract, we're going to do better monitoring and, in the future, I don't think we will have this issue again."
All 12 of the city's red light cameras are currently up and running.
Garland resident Michael Henderson said he had concerns about the mix-up.
"To me, it's a lot of money," he said. "I know they were waiting on TxDOT, but they could have used it on other things, like fix the roads."
Garland's red-light camera program is funded by fines from tickets issued by the cameras.
In 2003, Garland was the first city in Texas to install red-light cameras.