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updated: 7/9/2013 3:07 PM

Red-light camera violations up in Roselle

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Roselle's red-light cameras are generating higher-than-anticipated revenue at a time when dollars collected from other fines are falling short of projections.

As part of a midyear review of the 2013 budget, Roselle officials revealed the village has collected $153,689 in fines from its red-light cameras through the end of June. That's roughly 80 percent of what officials expected the cameras to generate for the entire year.

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Village Administrator Jeffrey O'Dell said the village in recent years had experienced a drop in the amount of fines from violations at two red-light cameras along Lake Street at Gary Avenue and a third camera along southbound Rodenburg Road at Central Avenue. Roselle last year collected $243,009 in traffic signal fines.

Officials say it's not clear what caused the number of red-light camera violations to jump during the first half of this year.

"We didn't add any more cameras," O'Dell said. "We haven't changed anything."

Drivers are ticketed for failing to make a complete stop before turning right on red or for heading straight or left through the intersection after the light is red. The fine for all offenses is $100.

"We hope there's nobody running red lights," Police Chief Steve Herron said. "But the reality is ... the two intersections we have are both high violation intersections."

Money from red-light camera violations has offset revenue shortfalls in other fine categories, including administrative tow fines. The village, for example, has collected a third of the $315,000 it hopes to generate from court fines.

Revenue from fines goes into Roselle's general fund, which pays for salaries and operating expenses during the year. The general fund is nearly $14.3 million of the village's $34 million budget.

Combined, all the general fund's revenue sources, including sales taxes and property taxes, are expected to meet or exceed projections. Part of the reason is the state has become more timely in making income tax payments to the village.

Still, the village's total expenses are projected to exceed total revenue by roughly $100,000.

That deficit could increase if the village isn't able to negotiate a new contract with the Roselle Fire Protection District. The fire protection district, which serves unincorporated areas near Roselle and Itasca, doesn't have a firehouse and relies on the manpower and equipment of the Roselle Fire Department.

Meanwhile, the village is coping with a 20 percent reduction of its full-time workforce over the last several years.

"The challenge for us, like everybody else, is reduced resources," O'Dell said. "It's how we provide the same level of municipal services with less people."

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