Mayor Cantrell's promise to remove some red light cameras would mean millions in lost revenue

Mayor Cantrell's promise to remove some red light cameras would mean millions in lost revenue

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city's red light cameras could soon be a thing of the past. Mayor LaToya Cantrell promised to get rid of them during her campaign and now she's looking to deliver. Yet, with a whopping $25 million at stake, city council members say they must first figure out how to make up for the lost revenue.

Most people who've received a red light camera citation have strong feelings against them.

"They need to get rid of them because I got ten tickets," said one driver.

"You said you were going to do something, it should be done," said driver Danira Ford.

In a statement, the Mayor's office tells us Cantrell's position hasn't changed. "She is currently examining the most responsible way to proceed with any changes, which will be part of the 2019 budget conversation."

City council members say red light cameras account for $25 million of the city's revenue.

"It's a significant amount of money," said City Council member Joe Giarrusso.

He says the proposal would likely keep cameras in school zones in place during school hours, but he adds that would still mean a cut of close to $22 million.

"How do you make up that significant piece of money when you know the expenses on the city side are going to increase, when you know the police department is potentially staring at a $7.8 million deficit, when department of public works and other agencies, affordable housing need more money?" questioned Giarrusso.

He says he's not against the mayor keeping her promise, but he says the city must be able to generate revenue elsewhere to avoid making deep cuts to departments or city services.

"What are all the places that we have in place the revenue side of the bucket? If we can't do much on the revenue side then what do we need to do on the expense side to make this happen?" Giarrusso said.

FOX 8 spoke to some drivers who say they'd be on board with cameras if they knew exactly where the money raised was going.

"It's going somewhere you can see changes being made, I think it makes a lot of sense. But if it's just going into some general fund where we're not seeing any concrete changes, I don't really see how it's helping anybody," explained driver Mariah Branyan.

Yet, some say the city needs to find other sources of revenue and get rid of the money-makers.

"Every day you're hearing about something that's messing up our budget anyway. So, if it's going to be something that's more beneficial to keeping more licenses, more access to insurance, things of that nature, I think they should do away with it," said Ford.

"Most of the politicians here are getting pretty well compensated, maybe they can cut back on some of their income," agreed driver William Eugene.

Giarrusso says the mayor's numbers indicate phasing out 15 cameras will mean a cut of just $800,000. That being said, he says one camera at Carollton and Palmetto rakes in $2 million, alone.

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.