Ever since Ohio lawmakers started cutting away at what was known as the state’s “Local Government Fund,” cities, counties and townships have looked to find other ways of maintaining their budgets.
In Youngstown and other communities, police started using radar cameras to catch speeding drivers and generate funds.
The state’s new transportation bill, however, aims to cut funding for communities using those cameras.
Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees said the changes not only impact finances but could hurt efforts to get drivers to slow down, especially on Interstate 680 through the city.
“As much enforcement and the different programs we’ve done — and I’ve been here 40 years looking at it — we’ve never been able to slow people down and reduce accidents by 30 percent, and we went two years without a fatality, which never happened,” he said.
The city brought in about $1 million last year with the cameras and another $300,000 to $400,000 so far this year.
With that money, the Youngstown Police Department is purchasing new police cruisers.
City leaders are reviewing the new law to see how it could impact local budgets.