CANTON, Ohio -- There will be no traffic cameras going up in the City of Canton... for now.
In a close vote, the city council voted down a proposal that would have posted seven traffic cameras to catch speeders and red light violators in school zones and busy intersections.
The council's resolution to enter into a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems failed by just one vote, to the applause of opponents at Monday night's council meeting.
The proposal, which was introduced by Mayor William Healy, was supported by the police chief, the police union and local schools. It would have generated $1 million in new annual revenue for the city.
"This issue is so important, because these kids are crossing the street in school zones every day, and guess what? People are flying down the street," argued Councilmember Thomas West, before the vote.
However, other council members had concerns over the constitutionality of traffic cameras, and privacy issues.
Councilmember Kevin Fisher was concerned that violations caught on camera would be civil violations, and not criminal.
"The burden of proof would be on the driver," he said. "You are guilty until proven innocent, not innocent until proven guilty."
The final vote was 5 to 7.
Had the vote been a tie, Council President Allen Schulman would have held the tie-breaking vote, and he had previously expressed his support of traffic cameras.
Critics of the plan were relieved that the measure failed, but were still concerned because of the close vote.
"I think the voices of the people were heard and council agreed. If the issue comes up again, voters will have to remember who supported this come election day," said Dan Ablett, a Canton resident and vocal opponent.
Mayor Healy expressed his disappointment.
"I don't understand why the issue is so controversial. We're asking people to obey the law. If they do, there are no consequences whatsoever," he said.
The mayor said that he may revisit the issue in the future, since the vote was so close, but for now, he says he will respect the vote of the council.