Driver accuses League City of misusing red light funds

May 2, 2012 4:15:05 PM PDT
There's a new battle in the ongoing controversy over red light cameras. A group that has been fighting the cameras in League City accuses city leaders of misspending money coming in from red light tickets.

The Galveston County District Attorney's Office says it will investigate this allegation that the red light camera money was spent by the city of League City illegally. The city says its own review has led them to already start paying back some of the money.

Byron Schirmbeck admits he doesn't live in League City. But he commutes through it, and so he says he has the right to question what happens to the money the city makes from red light violators -- money he and others contend is being used illegally.

"This is and always has been abut the money. The city will lie, cheat, steal, beak the law to do anything they can to protect this revenue coming in," Schirmbeck said.

He filed a complaint with the Galveston County district attorney, alleging that the city went on a "binge spending spree," purchasing things like rifle optics, entry rifles, a crime scene imager and finger print station -- even a tactical observation tower, which the city showed us last year as they touted its crime-fighting value.

"League City spent over a quarter-million dollars on things that aren't traffic safety related," Schirmbeck said.

The Texas transportation code says the money may be used only to fund traffic safety programs, including pedestrian and public safety programs, intersection improvements and traffic enforcement.

A League City Spokeswoman Kristi Wyatt tells us the city attorney has now reviewed the expenditures, and its interpretation of the law. She says the city has determined some of the money -- about $80,000 worth -- will now be paid back to the traffic safety fund and items will instead be purchased with general fund money.

But Wyatt insists the city didn't violate any law.

"Once that was brought to our attention and the opinion was received from our attorney, then we took action immediately to correct that," she said.

League City is also seeking an attorney general's opinion on what the red light camera funds can and cannot be used for.

Load Comments