Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey thinks the county should consider installing cameras to catch speeders in school speed zones.
She raised the issue during the Pasco County Commission’s Feb. 6 meeting.
She noted the state Legislature has authorized the use of cameras in school speed zones and Hillsborough County recently passed an ordinance to do just that.
She thinks Pasco should consider doing the same.
“I don’t want them all around the county, like they have them in New Port Richey and other places,” Starkey said.
But she told her board colleagues she’d like to have a discussion of whether the county should use enforcement cameras in its school speed zones.
“People frequently zoom in those areas,” she said. “They go fast.”
The cameras use the same kind of technology as is used at red lights, she said, but they go in school zones, instead.
“I think protecting kids, in school zones, is a good thing, personally,” Starkey said.
Commission Chairman Ron Oakley responded: “Yeah, we all agree on that.”
Commissioner Jack Mariano said he met with the same people as Starkey met with, including some who used to work in law enforcement.
“I did want to have them talk to the school board, and study the issue, and see what their thoughts are,” Mariano said.
Mariano wants more information about the extent of the problem before the county makes any decisions on the issue.
“I tell you, these red-light cameras in Port Richey and New Port Richey, they were supposed to get rid of them a few years ago, and they’re making too much money and they’re not going to make that move,” Mariano said.
On the other hand, Mariano added: “I do believe in safety, as well.”
He voiced concerns that if the revenue becomes too attractive, the county might become reluctant to pull the cameras, whether or not they’re effective.
Starkey responded: “I just know that it works to slow people down in school zones.
“I’d be happy if we never got a penny from it, if it just worked to keep people from speeding.”
On another issue, Starkey thinks the county should consider banning the location of “vape shops” near schools.
Hillsborough County has passed an ordinance on this issue, too, she said.
“Maybe we can have staff look at that Hillsborough ordinance,” Starkey said.
Published February 14, 2024