Plan to pull school zone cameras

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Republican Nassau County lawmakers proposed legislation on Monday to repeal a controversial school speed zone camera program that has garnered widespread complaints from motorists and criticism from Democrats about the quality of the program’s rollout this past summer. 

Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said at a news conference at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola on Tuesday that she expects the legislation to receive bipartisan support during a Dec. 15 vote.

“Just as we implemented it unanimously, we’re going to repeal it unanimously,” Gonsalves said. “That’s the message.”

The program was implemented in July with support from legislators from both parties to improve pedestrian safety near schools and increase county revenues, Gonsalves said, but was quickly met with complaints from constituents about inconsistencies with speed limits and its hours of operation.

Gonsalves said safety is still the Legislature’s top priority. 

She said Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told her patrols would increase near schools, and that flashing lights placed in school zones as part of the camera program will remain in operation.

The county will have to assess how to make up for more than $30 million in projected revenues from the school speed zone camera program in 2015 and whether outstanding tickets from school speed zones would have to be paid.

Gonsalves said no specific proposals have yet been discussed, but that lawmakers would work with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and county Comptroller George Maragos, both Republicans, to find a solution without raising taxes.

“It was not an easy thought on our part, but we knew something needed to be done,” Gonsalves said.

The legislation was first announced Monday evening, shortly after Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone held a news conference announcing the county would abandon its school speed zone camera program, which was set to be rolled out in 2015.

Democratic legislators on Tuesday said they welcomed the legislation after having called for a suspension of the program last month until a consistent county-wide rollout of the cameras could be implemented. 

“It became evident that it was less about safety and more about the financial burdens of our county’s mismanagement onto the motorists,” said Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the Legislature’s minor

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