Elk Run Heights could be one of the smallest towns in Iowa to have speed cameras following action taken by the city council Tuesday night (Oct. 11, 2016).

On a 3-2 vote, the council approved the third and final reading of an ordinance that allows Elk Run Heights to install automated traffic speed enforcement cameras if elected city officials decide to do so in the future. They are considering the possibility of placing fixed photo devices at two locations in the community: Lafayette Road near City Hall and Gilbertville Road near the intersection of Marie Ave. The targeted streets both have 25 m.p.h speed limits.

Passage of the ordinance allows the city council to enter into a contract with any company to install and operate the automation equipment. City leaders are strongly considering a proposal from Glendale, Ariz.-based Redflex Traffic Systems, which wants to become a partner with Elk Run Heights in the city's Safe Speed Program.

According to a proposed five-year contract being offered by Redflex, the company would provide, install and maintain the equipment at no up-front cost to the city. Redflex would initially charge the city $18.25 per paid ticket until the company's $240,000 investment is paid off. Afterward, all remaining revenue will belong to the city.

Under the Redflex agreement, Elk Run Heights would be responsible for providing police personnel to either approve or reject each speed violation. In July, city leaders approved an agreement with Evansdale for the neighboring city to provide 32-hours of police service each week. Evansdale police would be tasked with determining the validity of each speeding violation, if Elk Run Heights decides to approve the Redflex contract.

Several Elk Run Heights residents who don't want traffic enforcement cameras in the city have attended council meetings in recent weeks to voice their opposition. Some are concerned that hidden costs associated with installing and operating automated cameras would be pushed onto the taxpayers. Others feel that Evansdale police officers haven't been given the chance to do their jobs.

According to Redflex, there are about 70 automated systems currently operating in Iowa and 10 municipalities have either speed enforcement or red light enforcement cameras. Those municipalities include Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Muscatine, Ottumwa, Sioux City, Windsor Heights and Polk County.

Census figures taken in 2010 show Windsor Heights, a suburb of West Des Moines, is the smallest city among the group with a population of 4,891. By comparison, the current population of Elk Run Heights is just over 1,100 residents.

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