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Winfield approves town's first red-light cameras
By Robert Sanchez | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/7/2010 9:21 AM | Updated: 5/7/2010 9:22 AM

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Be prepared to see the intersection of Winfield and Roosevelt roads added to the list of red-light camera locations by the end of the year.

Winfield village board members voted 4-1 Thursday to approve a contract with Lombard-based RedSpeed Illinois to install cameras at the high-volume intersection. While the village still needs a permit from the state before any cameras can go up, officials said they expect to have the devices operational by November.

Trustee Glenn VadeBonCoeur was the lone objector to installing the town's first cameras.

"I have been adamantly opposed to it from the beginning," VadeBonCoeur said before the vote. "I have given any number of diatribes about it in the past. I am not going to do that tonight. I'll simply oppose it."

Trustees Joel Kunesh and Robert Mrugacz were absent.

The deal with RedSpeed is expected to generate about $200,000 a year for the village, which, like many communities, is having its share of financial woes.

Trustee Jack Bajor said he initially was opposed to red-light cameras. But after reviewing the safety and financial benefits, he says he's pleased to see the plan move forward.

"This village is looking for any opportunity we can to maintain a sound budget," Bajor said. "With other municipalities looking at this as an opportunity, I think it certainly would be derelict of our duties if we did not delve into it."

The latest discussion about red-light cameras came as trustees were working to address a projected $500,000 deficit in Winfield's $6 million general fund - the portion of the spending plan that pays for salaries and operating expenses.

Officials ended up adopting a balanced budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year with the assumption the red-light cameras would be approved. The fiscal year started May 1.

While the cameras will add needed cash to the village's coffers, police said there are safety benefits, especially at the intersection of Winfield and Roosevelt, which averages about 10,000 cars and trucks a day.

"Red light photo enforcement is designed to discourage violations, prevent motor vehicle crashes and change motorist behavior," Chief Frank Bellisario wrote in a memorandum.

He indicated that a two-hour surveillance of the Winfield and Roosevelt intersection showed "several dangerous truck violations, including one straight though, one left turn on red violation, and one violation that involved improper lane usage and then a straight through violation."

Bajor said he believes the fine revenue from that intersection will come mostly from out-of-town motorists once Winfield residents become accustomed to having the red-light cameras.