Winfield officials say it's still too early to say whether a red-light camera installed nearly six months ago has made the intersection of Winfield and Roosevelt roads safer. But according to data released by the village, the financial benefit is clear.
In the first five months of the program, the village has received $86,820.50, or an average of just more than $17,000 per month, above the cost of the program. Next year's budget projects revenue from the program at $212,400, all heading to the village's general fund.
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Although the village used early returns for its budget projections, Village Manager Curt Barrett said it would be premature to do the same for its safety numbers.
"It's very early, and the vendors themselves say it's really unscientific to make long-term projections based on short-term results," Barrett said. "You have to give it a year, as I have pointed out in our discussions."
While financial numbers were only available through June 30, the village included in its response to a Freedom of Information Act request data that specified the number of tickets issued through July 14.
From the program's inception on Feb. 1, 2,201 citations have been approved by the vendor, Lombard-based RedSpeed Illinois. That has resulted in 2,085 citations issued by Winfield police and, of those, 1,577 have been paid in full.
Of the 145 citations contested, 20 have been overturned.
The contract with the company calls for a $1,499 monthly fee for the camera, a total that includes maintenance.
Additionally, the company charges $5.99 for each time the camera captures, downloads and manually reviews data, whether a citation is issued or not. All prices will increase each year based upon the Consumer Price Index, according to the contract.
The camera records eastbound traffic at the high-volume intersection. Initial revenue estimates last year were nearly spot on, with officials projecting $200,000 in added revenue per year.
Village residents have been relatively quiet regarding the camera, which went through a one-month grace period in January before going live Feb. 1.
But one resident, chamber of commerce President Rich Bysina, admonished the board at a village meeting after he received a citation. He said if the camera were about safety, then he would not have received his citation because he looked both ways and saw a clear path.
Barrett said that does not change that safety is improved when motorists approach the intersections cautiously because of the cameras.
"You need to come to a complete stop, and that can't be argued," he said. "That is a safety issue."