According to McCurley [city finance director], the city faces a fiscal crunch because revenue in several areas has fallen short of projections. Collections from traffic tickets are $819,000 below what was budgeted, and ambulance billing collections are $200,000 under budget, he said.
Collections from traffic tickets?!? According to the census, this is a town with a population around 28,000 people and they were counting on collecting over $800,000 more than they did in parking tickets?!?
It is absurd that a municipality count on, actually hope that people act badly. And if they don't act badly, if they obey the law then, well, you have to lay people off. How perverse is that??
This isn't the first time I noticed this. In our post from February 9th we mentioned the LA Times budget game. In the game one of the budget items you can control is the projected revenue from installing cameras to fine people who run red lights:
Seriously have these municipalities and those running government lost their minds? You penalize people to STOP BAD BEHAVIOR. If you are successful, if what you did worked, you succeed in making the world a better place and the reward is no revenue because there are no violators. That's what you want! You do not count on bad behavior as A REVENUE STREAM, especially when it entails hoping people run red lights!
Politicians who count on bad behavior instead of attempt to prevent it are at the very least irresponsible, see Allen, MI. At the very worst maybe partially responsible for any horrible accidents that may occur, see California red light cameras.
I mean if you knew a particular street light intersection had frequent red light running violators, wouldn't you do what you could to stop the behavior? Or would you do nothing because the revenue from the tickets is just too sweet?