March 27, 2012 05:28 PM

Strong feelings about electronic enforcement of traffic laws in Lafayette? Tuesday night is an opportunity to chime in. The Lafayette City-Parish Council has scheduled public discussion over the SafeLight/SafeSpeed programs during Tuesday night's regularly scheduled council meeting. Also expected during the discussion is a presentation by Tony Tramel, Lafayette Consolidated Government's director of traffic/transportation, on the effectiveness of the program in reducing collisions and changing driver behavior - a goal of the program when a previous council debated and ultimately agreed to a contract between LCG and RedFlex, the company that administers the traffic-signal cameras and vans that have generated more than $10.5 million in revenue - $5.7 million for LCG, $4.9 million for RedFlex as of November of last year - through the issuances of speeding and red-light violations.

The programs, however, have not been without their detractors, and other communities and states have had second thoughts on electronic enforcement of traffic laws, moving to dismantle the cameras and return traffic enforcement to police departments.

An ordinance that would have allowed LCG's contract with RedFlex to expire this summer, effectively ending SafeLight/SafeSpeed, was on last week's council agenda as an introductory item. However, after District 7 Councilman Don Bertrand, who supports the programs, had the ordinance pulled for discussion and a separate vote, the ordinances sponsors - Councilmen Jared Bellard, Andy Naquin and William Theriot - removed the ordinance from the agenda and instead scheduled tonight's public discussion.

Bertrand says he believes there is enough support on the council to renew the contract, adding that he's received nearly a dozen calls from constituents, all in support of SafeLight/SafeSpeed. "They want to make sure we keep the program," the south Lafayette Republican says. "I haven't had any negative comments." Bertrand adds he believes the SafeLight/SafeSpeed "controversy is being contrived."

Worth noting: SafeLight/SafeSpeed is administered only at intersections and on streets within the city limits of Lafayette, not in the unincorporated parts of the parish or Lafayette Parish's smaller municipalities. However, two of the three councilmen sponsoring the ordinance to end essentially end the programs represent only a handful of city residents and live outside the city limits of Lafayette.