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Fairview City Council pushes back photo radar project

The Fairview City Council was scheduled to vote on the proposed photo radar in school zones — the pet project of Police Chief Ken Johnson almost three years in the making.

But during Wednesday’s work session, the council chose to push that decision into the new year.

The majority of councilors mentioned a desire for more data, some citing they didn’t feel the available information proved the photo radar was needed at all.

“I think safety is important, and I don’t see the data that supports that this is something we’re ready to dive into,” said Councilor Tamie Arnold. “I just don’t see it.”

The project stems from House Bill 3438, which passed in 2013 allowing Fairview, and only Fairview, to move forward with a pilot project testing video photo radar for speeders in school zones.

But the City Council must approve the project before it can move forward.

The selected test zone is on Halsey Street between 201st Street and 205th Street. The zone would include Reynolds Middle School, Reynolds Learning Academy and Salish Ponds Elementary.

“I would really like to see us go ahead with what the Legislature has asked us to do,” said Councilor Lisa Barton Mullins.

The council pushed off a decision in July as well, citing the need for more information.

Mayor Mike Weatherby said with the vote delayed, he hopes the new council will explore other options for the operating contract.

Red Flex is currently designated for the project, but there have been recent allegations of bribery within the company.

“It is not an issue of ethics or this issue of wrongdoing, it the appearance,” Weatherby said. “An elected official should not appear to be doing something wrong.”

Mayor-elect Ted Tosterud said he plans to host a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 28, to gather public input on the issue before bringing the project before the council in 2015.

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