Traffic cameras equipped to capture the speeds of passing vehicles are coming to multiple public school zones thanks to an agreement between the Baldwin County Board of Education and City of Milledgeville.
City council adopted the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two government entities last month and the school board gave its final seal of approval Tuesday. According to the MOU, the speed cameras will be placed in school traffic zones near Midway Hills Primary, Lakeview Primary and Oak Hill Middle School along Blandy Road as well as Baldwin High School on Highway 49. Both Lakeview Academy and the Early Learning Center lie within the Baldwin County School District’s main complex on ABC Street, which is not a major road, so no devices are to be placed there. Midway Hills Academy is outside the Milledgeville city limits, so in order for a camera or cameras to be placed there a deal would need to be struck with the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners.
It is not known yet how many devices will be installed or when they will be installed, but Tuesday’s BOE vote got the ball rolling.
BOE and city officials have partnered with RedSpeed, a Florida-based company, to bring the speed photo-enforcement camera equipment to the local school zones. A representative from the company along with Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord briefed school board members and district personnel on the effort back in July. The two men made a similar presentation to Milledgeville City Council in April before council members approved a local ordinance for implementation in May.
Those caught speeding 11 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit in school zones by the RedSpeed cameras will be subject to a $75 fine on a first offense. If a second offense is committed in one year’s time the fine is $125. The chief stressed that such fines would strictly be “civil penalties” and would not go against the vehicle owner’s insurance or driving record, similar to a parking ticket. According to figures given at the summer meeting, 65 percent of the money paid by offenders goes to MPD while RedSpeed gets the remaining 35 percent.
A traffic study was done in April to see if there would be data supporting the implementation of the speed enforcement system. A monitoring device recorded 494 drivers exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 11 mph in the school zone in front of Baldwin High over a nine-hour period on a school day.
“Do I think it will be effective? I certainly do,” Swicord said when presenting to the school board in July.
While the Baldwin County School District will not see any of the revenue generated, the MOU states that, “annual reports will be made on or before June 30 of each year to the school district detailing funds utilized on public safety activities and initiatives that impact individual schools within the incorporated area of the city and the school district. The school district will serve as the applicant through the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), but will not be responsible for installation or maintenance of the equipment.