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County Extends Speed Camera Contract Without Bid

Decision comes days before County Council votes to expand contract with ACS State and Local Solutions.

County officials say they will exercise a one-year renewal of a contract with its current speed camera vendor rather than rebid the contract.

ACS State and Local Solutions leases 15 cameras to the county at a cost of nearly $12,000 per camera per month.

Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman, said Thursday that the one-year contract was set to expire on Feb. 9 but that the county has decided to exercise an option to renew for one year.

The announcement of the decision to renew came just days before the County Council is set to vote on a bill that would allow a nearly unlimited number of cameras in school zones across the county.

The bill, sponsored by Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat, and three others is expected to pass.

Council members have been the focus of efforts to limit and expand the program.

A conservative wrote articles and published a Youtube video to Quirk's bill.

A grassroots group based in Towson has received assistance from a politically connected political strategy firm that helped .

Under the terms of the current contract, ACS State and Local Solutions has been paid nearly $1 million of the more than $1.1 million — about 81 cents of every dollar in fines collected by Baltimore County.

The contract, as approved by the council, was never bid out. Instead, the county piggybacked off an existing contract with Montgomery County with ACS State and Local Solutions.

Several on the council had expressed concern about the terms of the current contract.

Quirk, the lead sponsor of the bill to expand speed camera enforcement, declined to comment on the amount of money paid to ACS State and Local Solutions but said the contract "is something the council should take a look at."

"Is it appropriate? It's certainly something we should take a look at," said Quirk.

Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, a Democrat from Oliver Beach and co-sponsor on the bill to expand the program, said last week that she was "disappointed" to learn that the contract would be renewed rather than rebid.

Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, also said he would like to see the contract brought back before the council.

"There are a lot of new council members and I think we should have a chance to review it," Marks said. "Maybe, in the end, ACS is the most qualified for this, but I think we should take a look."

Mike Pappas February 07, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Mr. Carnahan, my reference to Tax Dollars related to the little publicized fact that the Speed Cameras in Balt. Co are actually losing money. Meaning the County spends more than it takes in. The Cameras cost approx $12,000.00 –each-per month. Plus the County pays police officers (or "people with Police Powers") to review the tickets. There are also engineering costs and other costs that were all detailed in a report of the Director of Budget and Finance indicating that the Cameras are losing money right now. A big reason, revenues drop by 50% after six months in place. Thus the big push by the Chairman of the Council is to make the Cameras mobile. He says it is so the "police have more flexibility." I think it is really so the revenues stay high and pay for the program. Either way, ACS makes a boatload of cash. There are Tax Dollars and Tax Payer Dollars at play. Seems like splitting hairs just like that O'Malley Commercial. "If it comes out of my pocket, it's a Tax." They can't have it both ways!
Nelson Lowman February 13, 2011 at 06:30 AM
Don't speed bumps do the same thing? I think we will see this money flow from the company to the campaigns of the councilman ... it all stinks ....
Nelson Lowman February 13, 2011 at 06:33 AM
Mobile speed enforcement units .... does that sound like cops? How many muggings will these mobile unit respond to? We need cops... not speeding kickback machines .....
Robert Armstrong February 13, 2011 at 03:17 PM
The mobile cameras appear to be more expensive. According to the SHA it costs $34,000 per speed automated enforcement vehicle per 8 hour shift.
T.H. February 13, 2011 at 05:18 PM
I drive by the one in front of Parville High every day. Most people do slow down about 5 feet before the camera then speed up againg when the are out of range.

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