Girard raises speed camera fines

City to implement tiered ticketing system

GIRARD — City council decided Monday to raise the fines associated with speed-camera tickets to help comply with changes in state law that take effect July 3.

Part of what Ohio lawmakers did to change the law that oversees handheld speed-camera programs is require the issuing authority pay for the court costs up front and absorb most of the costs unless the ticket was given in a school zone.

Other changes were a reduction in local government funds paid by the state equal to the amount of fines collected by speed cameras, except if the fine is a result of a violation in a school zone, and require fines from citations in school zones be used for school safety efforts in that community.

The ordinance passed by city council takes into account the state’s changes.

“One of the changes to the new law is that we have to file a certified copy of every ticket,” said Law Director Brian Kren.

To ensure the city doesn’t lose money because of the changes, council voted to raise the fines and implement a tiered ticket system.

The fines now are $100 or $150 for speeding in a construction zone.

The three-tier fine structure calls for tickets of $125 for 10 to 15 mph over the limit, $135 for 16 to 25 mph over the limit and $150 for 26 or more mph over the limit. The fee for speeding in a construction zone remains $150.

The tiered system also takes effect July 3.

“We only cite for 10 miles over, unless it’s a school zone. Then it’s six miles over the speed limit,” Kren said.

Said Mayor James Melfi, “We have no problem with the program; the results speak for themselves. It just seems to be once again a legislature that contains membership that really doesn’t understand how cities operate and local communities operate,” Melfi said.

Council is also urging the local government fund be restored to pre-recession levels.

“Their goal was always to take local government funding away. In Girard they’ve taken 50 percent of our local government funding away now for nine years. And what’s that equate to? In just Girard, that equates to well over $1 million,” Melfi said.