Monthly fee for Providence speed cameras increases by nearly $9K

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence will pay the private company that oversees its school-zone speed camera program an additional $8,900 per month as part of an amended agreement that was never approved by the City Council, according to documents released Thursday.

The revised contract with Conduent State and Local Solutions Inc. calls for the city to pay the company $3,573 per month for each of the 15 active speed cameras beginning Oct. 1, up from $2,978 a month under the original deal. The city also agreed to pay the company $7.90 per violation, a 40-cent increase from the first deal.

Separately, the city agreed to pay Conduent $7,544 per camera, per month – for 10 units – between July and September, which covers the entire period where the city was prohibited by state law from issuing violations because students were on summer vacation.

The changes to the contract were first disclosed to the City Council by Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare at a Finance Committee meeting Thursday evening, but Pare never told committee members that the city agreed to the increase in monthly fees. He said the contract modification was necessary because a change in state law limited the number of days violations can be issued.

Pare maintained Providence still stands to take in nearly 75% of the revenue from violations, while the company will receive a 25% cut.  But Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi argued the city should have consulted with the council before it amended a contract to help the company earn more revenue.  

“We’re renegotiating the contract for the betterment of the company,” Igliozzi said Thursday.

The contract, signed by Pare on Aug. 14, requires the city to pay $7.90 per violation even when only warning notices are being issued. The company will also receive a 3% annual increase in the per-violation fee each year.

The city is currently in a warning period for violations until Oct. 23, but drivers caught traveling over 11 miles per hour by the 15 cameras will be fined $50 per violations. The tickets can only be issued between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the 180 days when public schools are in session. Cameras can be installed within a quarter-mile of any type of school.

Speaking after an event Thursday, Mayor Jorge Elorza said the increased fees for the company will not affect drivers, noting that the $50 violation is the maximum allowed under state law. Elorza said he isn’t concerned that Providence is losing out on potential revenue.

“The is an investment the city is making in school safety,” he said.

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Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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