Mar 21, 2013 11:50 PM by Erin Steuber
Nearly six years into Lafayette's traffic camera program, LCG is considering going after those who haven't paid up. This week, the board delayed an ordinance which would give an amnesty period on late fees for those with outstanding violations. But the board is limited who they can go after, because of an ordinance the board, itself, passed. They imposed a sort of statute of limitations on themselves, limiting those they can go after, and ultimately limiting the amount of money LCG can recover.
"The crux of this is not the money. I think it's equal enforcement of the law," said Parish President Joey Durel.
If the council does approve an amnesty period, once amnesty expires, LCG will aggressively try to collect money owed by violators. But although the Safelight/Safespeed program has been in operation since 2007, the council can only try to recoup funds from three years back.
"It's a self imposed limitation, and that really is what it is," said City Attorney Mike Hebert. "I think without that limitation being there, LCG could probably go back as far as ten years to recover unpaid tickets."
That means LCG may never be able to cash in on the even larger sum of money that's owed. From 2007 until May of 2012, there's about $6,947,652 in outstanding violations owed to LCG. But because of the three year limitation, LCG can only pursue $1,337,000 dollars of that.
If LCG pursues the outstanding violations contractually LCG is obligated to pay 40% of what it collects to Redflex, raising the question, is it worth it?
"It's a really good question. I think it's another factor that needs to be thrown into the cost, benefit analysis, to see exactly what it's going to cost in the long run to pursue these, and how they might be pursued, such that we're not just throwing good money after bad," said Hebert.
Voting to pass the amnesty ordinance is delayed for at least thirty days. The amnesty period will also apply to parking tickets.