This week's crime report for Clay County Florida, provided by the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
ORANGE PARK – Video-taped red light cameras in Orange Park have led to fines for many residents of the town, but the videos also have provided an additional level of safety for the town.The …
ORANGE PARK – Video-taped red light cameras in Orange Park have led to fines for many residents of the town, but the videos also have provided an additional level of safety for the town.
The topic was longly debated by the council during the new business portion of Tuesday night’s meeting.
The issue was first raised by Councilman Doug Benefield, who was commended for his effort to address the concern. The official said that he ran a red light within town limits while driving a vehicle to safeguard himself and his passengers, which included children and a dog, rather than braking.
The councilman said he follows the law, but he and other members expressed support for the cameras since they increase the level of safety in the town as well as fund other programs for the town.
“If we’re talking about removing them and removing the revenue, we should be talking about budget cuts and revenue replacement with a real conversation that we’re willing to have,” Benefield said.
“Yes, it’s a revenue generator, it’s no absolute secret,” said councilman John Hauber. Without the cameras, an additional layer of law enforcement presence would be needed for Orange Park since more officers would be needed to safeguard the town’s roads.
The town council said it understands residents’ reasons for opposition to the red light cameras.
One potential alternative route to the cameras would be increased patrols, which could provide feedback on what would be a good alternative.
The issue is a double-edged sword, though, Benefield said.
“If it saves one life, even though it may not show the data a lot of people want to see, again, we’re not counting for certain numbers, but the more important part is if this saves one life, that red light camera did its part,” Hauber said.
Mayor Randy Anderson reinstated that no resident would be charged for crossing the white line, but only if they run a red light. The camera issue is part of a larger issue that involves speeding on U.S. Highway 17 and other town roads, Anderson said. However, many who are speeding are going as fast as 60-to-90 mph and are from Duval County and other areas. The speed limit on U.S. 17 in town is between 40-45 mph.
In other news, the final reading amending the town budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 passed unanimously, 5-0.
The council also discussed potentially reopening of Rob Bradley Conservation Park at Nelson Point. The park on the shores of Doctors Lake has been a hot topic with residents, especially after a highly successful rendition of Arbor Day, an event that was attended by 47 residents.
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