(WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team followed the money paid by drivers ticketed by local speed cameras.
What we found exposed why so many towns keep collecting fines even after a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling.
That ruling said the state can hold back some tax dollars from towns using speed cameras.
A state report shows municipalities collecting millions in fines from the cameras, but, sometimes, only losing thousands in tax dollars.
So, we took a closer look.
From 2020-2022, the report shows, Newburgh Heights took in well over $13 million from speed camera tickets, losing only $6,700 in tax money.
The report also shows Linndale took in $3.5 million, only losing a little over $6,000 in tax money.
The document reveals Liberty Township in Trumbull County collected $9.4 million in speed camera fines while losing just over $293,000 in tax funds.
Those are just a few examples.
That report was prepared by the Ohio Department of Taxation for State Representative Tom Patton.
Patton has been fighting for years to shut down speed cameras.
The I-Team asked what he thought of the figures.
“I was shocked,” he said. “We’re all for public safety, but this is simply a cash grab.”
Drivers get speed camera tickets in the mail sometimes weeks after they were clocked speeding, so Patton sees no impact on safety.
We wondered how towns can collect millions from tickets sent to drivers while losing only a tiny bit of that in tax dollars.
Turns out, the money withheld by the state is not dollar-for-dollar. Instead, just what each town is eligible to get in what’s called local government funding.
The I-Team went looking for the mayor of Newburgh Heights, but she was not in the office. She didn’t return a message seeking comment.
Meanwhile, we’ve shown you before that the leaders of Linndale won’t answer questions for the I-Team.
This new money trail comes to light as State Rep. Patton is still pushing new laws that could shut down speed cameras all over the state.
“Got some other bills in the loop and if we don’t get it done by the end of the year, and we have to start again next year, we’ll reintroduce them,” he said.
This process of adding up speed camera fines and withholding tax dollars didn’t just start, but we found it is still developing due to the recent Supreme Court ruling.
The I-Team plans to keep an eye on it.