Council members: Traffic camera revenue helped keep property tax - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Council members: Traffic camera revenue helped keep property taxes down, pay for public safety.

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV)- Red light cameras were placed around Sioux City in 2010. One year later, the city placed speed cameras along I-29 in the construction zones through the city. The city said the cameras were to help with safety.

"People think that the red flex is all about money. Well, the revenue has kept taxes down for five years," said City Council Member Rhonda Capron.

Last fiscal year, the city predicted that it would see $2 million from speed cameras, and added that in the budget to help with fire and public safety issues. It's actual revenue, $4.5 million. The extra $2.5 million was put in the general fund balance at the end of the year; but, some are concerned where that money went. "We might just argue forever about traffic safety versus revenues and use of those revenues, but I thought it was important to at least let the community know what the facts are and what we have here," said City Council Member Dan Moore. "They still may disagree with it. In my mind, because I had the same question, looking at what's provided here, funds were used for public safety measures."

The other concern, the Iowa Department ofTransportationn is considering banning the cameras from state highways, which would mean many of the speed and red light cameras would have to come down, taking the revenue with them. City leaders say that could impact the rest of the budget and your taxes. "We would have had to have a property tax, at least a year ago and probably two years ago, property tax increase, which we forestall by using those funds, there isn't any question about that," said Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott. "We had the funds in the bank that way and that's why we used them for that particular project."

However, Mayor Scott said the cameras have helped with their original intended purpose. "It has reduced the speeding in our community whether people want to believe that," said Mayor Scott. "Two, it does allow us some flexibility in the budget process that we don't have to raise property taxes."

No decisions were made Tuesday. The city will be presenting a list of revenue changes when they look at the operating budget in February.

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