While red light cameras have been outlawed in Texas, the ones in Amarillo could stick around a little longer.
On Tuesday, during a work session of the Amarillo City Council, Councilmembers discussed the red light cameras with city manager Jared Miller and public works director Raymond Lee, as the City deals with the passage of House Bill 1631, which bans the use of the cameras across the state. However, under the bill, if municipalities currently have existing contracts for the use of the cameras, they are allowed to finish out the term of their contract.
During the meeting on Tuesday, Miller said while Amarillo does have a clause that would allow the City to break the contract for a cost of roughly $500,000, City staff are recommending the cameras stick around through 2022, when the contract will end.
“We don’t see a way that we can prudently recommend to Council that we cancel the contract under that clause because it expressly says we can continue [operating the cameras],” Miller said.
Councilmember Elaine Hays also weighed in, saying citizens should know about the costs associated with exiting the contract.
“The population in general does not want red light cameras…but that is an important piece of information for our community to know,” Hays said. “We can [exit the contract], but it is going to cost us out of pocket.”
Roughly a year before the ban, the Amarillo City Council voted to increase the number of cameras operating on Amarillo streets by a unanimous vote. Those additions came over a decade after the cameras were first installed in 2007.
While no official decision has been reached, City officials left the door open for further discussions over the future of the cameras.