Township uses ticket money for police, scholarship funds

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

A local police department continues to make several hundred thousand dollars a year as a result of a traffic camera program. The program has resulted in funding for police services, road improvements, scholarships and community outreach.

The Franklin Township Police Department recently shared the total revenue they have made off the traffic camera program in 2018 and 2019. Launching in December 2018, the program netted $21,300 for the township in December 2018 alone.

In 2019, the program netted just under $800,0000, however the township didn’t receive all those funds. In fact, the township’s total revenue for the program was approximately $500,000.

“Thirty seven percent of the total net went to Gatso USA, the traffic camera provider per our agreement with them,” said Franklin Township Police Chief Byron Smith. “This equaled between 2018 and 2019 us having to pay them over $300,000.”

Out of the remaining funds, from December 2018 through August 2019, the township provided 58 percent of the funds to the police department, 28 percent to the general fund, 10 percent to the road department, 2 percent to a scholarship fund and 2 percent to giving back to the community.

However, in September 2019 regulations were changed and the township was only able to use the funds raised from the traffic cameras for certain things.

“Now, we can only use the funds for the police department, the scholarship fund and community engagement,” Smith said. “We have to use the funds for things like school safety, scholarships to area students and other ways we can interact with the community.”

The traffic camera system cites drivers for going 10 miles per hour or more over the speed limit. One police officer operates the handheld camera during school hours and monitors for speeders.

“Each speeding ticket is priced at a flat $100 fee,” Smith said. “This is lower than the average speeding ticket in Ohio, which starts at about $140 and goes up with an increase in speed.”

The township was also able to give away three $1,000 scholarships to local graduating seniors, donate $1,000 to the Ohio Youth Development for the Havenwood Afterschool Youth Scholarship Program and $200 to Franklin Heights High School’s Special Olympics Fund.

The township plans on doing similar donations in 2020 to support the local community.

In other news, there was a groundbreaking to rebuild the roads near Havenwood Apartments, said Mark Potts, Franklin Township administrator.

“These roads need a total reconstruction and when this work is complete, it will be a huge asset to that part of the township.”

The roads that will be rebuilt are Lincoln Park Court, Nationwide Boulevard and Westport Road, all located within the Havenwood Apartments community.

The township received a $2 million grant for improvements to the roads, leaving the township with a small amount they will need to pay for the project. The total cost for the project is $2,150,000.

So far, construction is anticipated to continue on the project. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues officials say depending on what happens construction could be delayed or limited.

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