Welcome to the Finger Lakes! Our theme song:

In a town this size, there's no place to hide
Everywhere you go, you meet someone you know...
In a smokey bar, in the backseat of your car
In your own little house, someone's sure to find you out
What you do and what you think
What you eat and what you drink...

(Kieran Kane)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Planning to visit Rochester?

Kodak Park demolition

Finger Lakes travelers, be aware that Rochester's fastest growing revenue source is red light cameras.
Net revenues from red light tickets are three times the city’s budgeted estimates, records show — with 2½ months to go in the fiscal year.
The additional $400,000 in fines collected to date is attributable to a faster deployment of cameras and improved collections, officials said.
Forget about that antiquated right to confront your accuser in open court.  Tickets are mailed to vehicle owners, regardless of who was driving.  
Violators receive a $50 ticket in the mail. The fine jumps to $75 if not paid, and eventually the car can be booted or towed. Fines are levied against the vehicle owner, based on the license plate.
Tim's Cogitorium follows the money, and guess what?
While the city has collected $141,045 in fines so far, that’s only half the amount that’s outstanding because over 50% of the tickets remain unpaid.  Nearly 1 in 4 tickets are in default or in collections, meaning the chances of ever getting paid are slim.
But hey, $141k isn’t pocket change.  That’s a good profit, right?  It turns out, not so much.  You see, the cameras were installed and are maintained by Arizona-based vendor Redflex Traffic Systems.  Over the same period, they have billed the city $145,164 for operating the system.  Fortunately, there is a clause in the city’s contract with Redflex saying they can’t be billed more than they take in.  So, all totaled, the city has seen a net cash influx of… let me work the arithmetic out here… carry the 1… ah, yes… $0.
While the red light scam is taking money out of citizen's already depleted pockets, one Rochester guy is still doing OK.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy had a big day at Saratoga Race Course, winning $2,628 one day there last summer, his tax returns showed.
Duffy’s income in 2011, in fact, was significantly higher than his boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Their returns were released Tuesday.
Duffy earned $76,770 from his police pension — he’s the former police chief in Rochester, as well as the former mayor — and $152,823 as lieutenant governor.
Along with some investment  earnings, his and his wife’s total taxable income came to $237,995.
Upstaters should recall that Duffy is in charge of your economic development.  Does he think we live in Arizona, or Australia?  Perhaps we should all got to the track.

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