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Carol Stream mayor defends red-light cameras
By Marco Santana | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/30/2010 12:00 AM

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Although red-light cameras in the suburbs have come under fire from seemingly all directions, Carol Stream village president Frank Saverino would install them on all intersections of North Avenue if he could.

While they do generate about $200,000 annually for the village, Saverino said the purpose is more about safety than anything else and that his town's program should be a model for any other programs.

Responding to a question from a resident during Wednesday's "Shape of Carol Stream" town hall meeting, he said the cameras serve as a deterrent to bad drivers.

"It has caused a lot of people to be more aware of their driving habits," he said.

At the meeting, officials from nine government entities answered residents' questions that ranged from consolidation of schools in Carol Stream Elementary District 93 to bus routes in Glenbard High School District 87 and ambulance fees at the Carol Stream Fire Protection District.

As for the red-light cameras, residents should not expect the village to follow the lead of other area towns that have moved to remove them.

Saverino said the cameras' presence allows officers to focus their attention on other areas of town. However, he said the town's model, which involves an independent review of all tickets and the opportunity for drivers to dispute the tickets during a hearing, makes the process fair.

"We are not getting rid of the cameras," Saverino said.

The meeting went smoothly and officials seemed better prepared than last year, when the majority of the two hours was spent listing accomplishments of the entities.

On Wednesday, the opening statements lasted a total of 40 minutes and the moderator, Itasca Bank & Trust Co. president Jack Mensching, was able to pose all the questions asked by residents in attendance, by phone or by e-mail.

In District 93, board president Tony Cicero said consolidation has been a topic discussed as officials deal with declining enrollment numbers. However, he said preschool numbers and the fact that some schools still have heavy use have put rezoning into the discussion.

Even though we reduced our enrollment, we have space issues in nearly all of our schools," superintendent Bill Shields said. "We have teachers in many that do not have any space."