Between 200-300 speeders are being detected daily by new speed cameras installed in Jefferson school zones.
That’s the number of violations being processed each day by Blue Line Solutions — which provided the cameras — according to Jefferson police lieutenant Nate McDonald, who answered questions about the new technology at the Jan. 11 Jefferson City Council meeting.
Those 200-300 motorists are being sent warnings, but tickets will be issued staring Feb. 1.
“We’d really like to see those numbers go down,” McDonald said. “We hope they will go down. We hope as people start to get these warnings in the mail that they’ll realize that, ‘I have got to play better attention.’”
Tickets are only issued if a motorist is traveling 11 mph over the speed limit in accordance with state law for speed cameras.
Councilman Mark Mobley said the high volume of speeders detected underscores the problem the cameras were implemented to address.
“But I’m with you,” Mobley said, referring to McDonald. “I don’t want to give tickets to our folks.”
McDonald said the Jefferson Police Department will continue to get the word out on social media platforms.
Councilman Clint Roberts brought up speed camera enforcement, asking for clarification on whether or not the cameras operate outside school hours. He said the issue has become a “hot topic” on social media sites Next Door and Facebook.
McDonald said the cameras are only active during school hours on school days.
The cameras run until 4:10 p.m. on Washington St. (where the high school is located) and until 4 p.m. on Old Pendergrass Rd. (where three schools are located).
Electronic warning signs notifying a motorist of their speed are already in place on Old Pendergrass Rd. They have yet to be placed on Washington St. — which falls under the jurisdiction of the DOT. Warning signs are planned for Washington St, but the city is waiting on permits from the DOT.
In other business, the council:
•heard a request from applicant Kenneth Wood, who seeks a zoning variance that would allow for basements for a planned apartment complex on Concord Rd. The zoning only allows for three floors. Basements would constitute an additional floor. Jefferson fire chief Mark Duke, when asked by Gramley, said the department’s ladder trucks were sufficient to handle an additional floor. The council will vote on the request Jan. 25.
•again discussed its food truck ordinance, which is slated for a vote in February. One of the issues discussed was fire safety and the frequency of inspections of food trucks by the fire department. Duke suggested once a year. In addition to that, Roberts suggested that new vendors be subject to inspection upon their first visit to the city. In a separate discussion, Roberts asked for a clearer delineation between major and minor actives in the ordinance. He said that an event forcing the closure of a significant portion of the square should be considered a major activity. Weitz said that scenario would be a “gray area” between a major and minor activity and will seek to address that issue.
•approved adjustments to the FY2020 and FY2021budgets. None of the changes required use of the city’s reserves. The council will vote on budget amendments Jan. 25.
•heard a request to appoint city clerk Wendy Wilson as the city election superintendent. The council will vote on that appointment Jan. 25.
•was informed that election qualifying fees for 2021 will be $216 for mayor and $75 for councilpersons. The council will vote on those fees Jan. 25.
Howell conducted the meeting remotely, citing a positive COVID test within his family over the holiday break.
Jefferson will hold a strategic planning retreat Friday, Jan. 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jefferson Civic Center. The meeting is open to the public.