Voters in Aurora overwhelmingly told Aurora City Council to stop the red light cameras.
Aurora Mayor Bob LeGare said he was surprised by how many votes viewers rejected them. "The question was very straight forward: if someone runs a red light, should they get a ticket? And the answer was a resounding no," he said.
By a margin of two-to-one, Aurora voters want the red-light camera program to end. The contract runs through Jan. 1, 2019, so it's likely they would be active until Jan. 2.
"I am disappointed because our data in Aurora says that the serious T-bone accidents were down considerably, and those are the ones where people get killed," said LeGare.
Before LeGare was appointed mayor earlier this year, he was a city councilman who pushed for this to get on the ballot.
"We've been just barely six-to-five votes for multiple years on keeping the program, so we've extended it one year at a time," LeGare said.
Twice in the last three years, the state legislature passed a bill banning red light cameras statewide, but both times Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed the bill.
Part of Aurora's red light camera program funded programs that help the needy.
"There was probably close to a million dollars of revenue coming from red light cameras that helped social service agencies," LeGare said.
In a presentation in May, City Council was told that the red light camera program resulted in $2.4 million more for the city, with a third of that helping social services:
Aurora Mental Health Services: $341,760
Comitis Crisis Center: $287,940
Gateway Domestic Violence Services: $119,885
Sungate Kids: $58,000
Metro Community Provider Network: $56,595
"It's up to city council to figure out whether or not we can find a source of funding for that," LeGare said. "We have the money for 2019 in the budget, but there's no money allocated for that beyond 2019 at this moment."
Greenwood Village utilizes photo red-light cameras and recently installed one at Belleview Avenue and Dayton Street near Cherry Creek High School.
"The City Council supports the City's Photo Red Light program as part of our priority to enhance the safety of the community," explained Greenwood Village Police Chief Dustin Varney. "We are going to continue to follow State Law in utilizing the photo red light system to manage traffic safety concerns in Greenwood Village."
Denver and Boulder both have red-light camera systems. So far, only Aurora has put the issue in front of voters. Aurora City Council could still choose to go rogue and keep the program.
"A better question would be, 'Should the city council ignore the will of the people?' and the answer is 'no'," LeGare said.