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City Council Discusses Speed Monitoring System In School Zones

The Jamestown City Council discusses a proposed resolution to install speed violation monitoring systems in school zones to ticket vehicles exceeding the speed limit. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

In an effort to increase safety around school zones, the city is proposing to install speed violation monitoring systems in school zones to ticket vehicles exceeding the speed limit.

On Monday during a Jamestown City Council work session meeting, the council discussed the possibility of Jamestown being part of a statewide pilot program.

Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said earlier this year the council passed an ordinance to allow for stop-arm cameras on school buses to record vehicles passing illegally while the red lights are flashing. He said this proposal would be similar, but the cameras would be installed in school zones. He said each year there are 300 to 400 vehicle stops and accidents in school zones in the city.

Sundquist said if Jamestown is included in the pilot program, the monitoring system would capture video of anyone exceeding more than 11 MPH in a school zone, with the speed limit in school zones being 20 MPH. He said the enforcement technology would only be used during school hours.

Jeffrey Russell, At-Large councilman, said the way the resolution is worded is that the owner of the vehicle would be fined. He asked what if someone is borrowing the vehicle and the owner is not the one exceeding the speed limit. Sundquist said there will be an affidavit process so people can fight the fine to say that they weren’t the ones driving at the time. He said the technology is a high-quality photo or video so it will be effective in determining if the owner was driving the vehicle at the time.

Sundquist said this is the first step of the process, which needs to be supported via home rule legislation by both state Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown. Sundquist said if Jamestown is accepted into the program, it will start next year.

The council also discussed a corresponding resolution to hire Sensys Gatso USA of Beverly, Mass., to install the speed violation monitoring systems in school zones at a rate of $18 per a paid violation. According to a staff report provided to the media with the council meeting agenda, the city’s share of a $50 ticket would be $32.

In other business, the council also discussed entering into a shared municipal services agreement with the Chautauqua County Emergency Medical Services for paramedic and advances life support emergency services within the city. Sundquist said if the agreement is approved, the county’s fly-car emergency services program would be able to start billing for services they provide in the city. Currently, there is no billing mechanism in the city for the fly-car emergency services program. He said that the fly-car system would only respond to an emergency when ALSTAR EMS is unable to answer the call. The agreement is similar to the ones the county has with Dunkirk and other municipalities in the county.

According to the resolution, 40% of the revenue collected from the emergency services call would be paid to the county while 60% would be retained by the city.

The council is slated to vote on the resolutions during its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.

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