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Monroe puts end to red-light camera contracts

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
MONROE -- The city's nearly finished with traffic-enforcement cameras.
It's in writing now.
Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman on April 8 sent the city's camera vendor, Arizona-based Redflex Traffic Systems, a letter saying the city won't renew its contract when it expires later this year.
The Herald on Wednesday obtained the two-page letter under state public records laws.
As of Wednesday, the city had not received a response from Redflex, City Administrator Gene Brazel said.
City leaders aren't sure when the camera equipment will be removed from Monroe, Brazel said.
Much of the termination process is governed by the contract. It is unclear regarding an exact date.
The mayor's letter doesn't clarify the timeline.
"The City looks forward to Redflex's continued service throughout the remainder of the Initial Term and its cooperation in removing the company's Equipment at the conclusion of that term in accordance with the agreement," Zimmerman wrote.
Monroe's been dogged with controversy ever since the cameras went live in 2011. The opposition was spearheaded by Mukilteo-based activist Tim Eyman, who led a legal battle to remove the cameras.
Monroe voters repeatedly made clear in advisory elections that they wanted the cameras out of town. However, questions arose over how binding those votes are and whether the city had used litigation to thwart public participation.
The state Court of Appeals in February ruled in Monroe's favor in the court case that lasted roughly two years.
Eyman on Wednesday said he remains convinced the city would have kept the cameras indefinitely if it hadn't been for the court case and related disagreements.
He and other anti-camera activists are proud to have played a role in dismantling Monroe's camera program, which they considered a "money grab," he said Wednesday.
In Snohomish County, only Lynnwood and Monroe use traffic-enforcement cameras to ticket people who allegedly run red lights or speed in school zones.
Lynnwood's contract is in effect until fall 2016.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449;
Story tags » MonroePolicePoliticsRoads

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