Marion Council OKs speeding cameras for violations



On Thursday, the Marion City Council voted to adopt an ordinance that will amend the city code to allow for the placement of Automated Traffic Enforcement cameras at specific intersections.

The cameras will be used to detect red light infractions and speeding. The ordinance does not specify the number of cameras installed or their locations. Instead, it paves the way for the city to gather information to determine the best use of traffic cameras and explore potential contracts.

Marion Police Chief Mike Kitsmiller presented the idea of using the cameras to the city council during a work session in February. Kitsmiller recommended installing cameras at Highways 13 and 151 and Highway 100 and East Post Road, citing high crash rates at those intersections.

The council also approved a policy that sets forth the guidelines and procedures for using the cameras. The policy mandates that the city council approve the placement of stationary cameras. However, the police chief may authorize the order of a mobile speed camera after receiving complaints from citizens.

When a mobile camera is used, it will remain in the exact location for at least 48 hours. The police department’s social media pages, city hall, and the police station must provide notice at least 12 hours before the camera unit is set up.

The camera policy requires the City Council report to include statistical data on violations caught by the cameras each month. The council will also review the camera program every six months.

When the cameras capture someone running a red light or speeding, the vehicle owner will receive a notice of the traffic infraction by mail, along with instructions on how to dispute the citation. Citations must be paid or denied in writing within 30 days of receipt.

The fee for running a red light will be $100, as outlined in the ordinance. The prices for speeding will vary based on the scale established, starting at $50 for driving between 5 and 10 mph over the speed limit.

Fees for speeding caught by traffic cameras under the new ordinance

The proposed ordinance and the camera policy were approved with a 6-1 vote. Council member Gage Miskimen voted against both.

Miskimen stated during the meeting that he believes there may be other alternatives to explore when it comes to making certain intersections safer, such as adding flashing lights before the corner to warn motorists that a stoplight is ahead or adjusting the duration of yellow lights.

“Ideally, of course, the goal would be that no one receives a ticket and everyone follows the rules,” Miskimen commented.

While other council members expressed some concerns, they believe that the cameras will ultimately benefit Marion.

“Do I like them? No. Was I opposed when it first came up? Yes,” council member Sara Mentzer stated. “I don’t know who likes them, but, again, we have to do something to try to deal with the dangerous intersections we’re dealing with.”

In 2021, the Marion City Council declined to move forward with a traffic camera ordinance proposed by Kitsmiller.

During the public forum on Thursday, Brandon Ald spoke out against the proposal. Ald told the council that the cameras are solely a means for the city to generate revenue and will not effectively deter traffic infractions.

“I feel that (the cameras) are unconstitutional and illegal,” Ald argued

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