Firefighters won’t face speed tickets from camera

Volunteer firefighters responding to a call will be exempt from being ticketed for speeding under the village’s new traffic camera system.

The issue was raised at this week’s Village Council meeting by Bev Shell, who is president of the Negley Volunteer Fire Department, which also operates out of the fire station in Rogers under contract with the village.

The village has installed a portable traffic camera in front of the Dollar General store to catch speeding motorists. Although the camera has been in place for several weeks photographing license plates, council has yet to take the remaining steps before citations can begin to be issued.

Shell told council she was concerned about their firefighters who, when responding to a call, might be caught speeding while in the process of getting to the Rogers Fire Station.

Mayor Sandy Chambers told her that speeding tickets will be waived for firefighters responding to a call.

Shell said the fire department would be able to provide the necessary verification for the firefighter to present the village. “So as long (the firefighter) can justify he’s on a call we’ll be fine?” she asked.

“Right,” the mayor said.

During the meeting council voted to hire police officer Cory Kuzyk to review speeding citations and sign off on them before they are mailed to offenders, which is a requirement. He will be paid $300 per month for up to 1,200 tickets, with his pay increasing incrementally if he handles more than 1,200 citations.

Kuzyk is a police sergeant with the Cleveland-area village of Newburgh Heights and was recommended for the job by village Solicitor Luke McConville, who also serves as solicitor for the Newburgh Heights, which also has an Optotraffic traffic camera system in place.

The ordinance enacted by council in July, which allows motorists to be cited under the traffic camera system, establishes a $100 fine for speeding, with $60 of that going to the village. The rest goes to Optotraffic LLC, the company hired by Rogers to provide and maintain the cameras and handle collections.

Before it can begin issuing tickets, the village next has to find an attorney to serve as a magistrate to handle any contested tickets, which can be appealed to Columbiana County Municipal Court. Council must also come up with a way to go after motorists who refuse to pay.

“On their end it can go immediately. But on our end we’re not really ready,” Mayor Chambers said. “As far as I know it’s taking pictures.”