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Automated traffic cameras coming to Old Town Mukilteo

MUKILTEO, Wash., December 5, 2023—The Mukilteo City Council approved the installation of automated traffic cameras during their meeting on December 4 after a public hearing, with many council members citing public safety as their primary concern.

Public comments were mixed, but, arguably, most who spoke were in favor of the cameras — similar to comments made on The Lynnwood Times’ previous coverage of the cameras last month.

“I would love to have enough officers so that they could all do that and take the time to have that interaction with all the infractions that happen, cause that’s really how we promote public safety in a very profound way and build community and build trust in our police department,” Councilmember Richard Emery said. “We don’t have that opportunity… so I am very much in favor of installing speed cameras where they are being proposed.” 

The speed cameras are slated to be placed in three locations on SR 525/Mukilteo Speedway: Rosehill Community Center, Olympic View Middle School/Mukilteo Elementary School, and 92nd Street Park.

The camera intended for the Rosehill is listed in city documentation as the “400 block of SR 525” and will monitor “southbound park traffic.” Olympic View Middle School and Mukilteo Elementary School is the “7600 block of the Speedway” and may have two cameras, as it will monitor both “north and southbound school zone traffic.” Finally, the “9200 block of the Speedway” that monitors “northbound park traffic” refers to 92nd Street Park. 

Novoa Global’s Speed-Safe

The ordinance to allow the automated traffic cameras passed in a 5-2 vote, with Councilmember Riaz Khan and Councilmember Steve Schmalz voting no.

The council did unanimously pass an amendment to the ordinance to allocate funds from the fines to traffic calming, pedestrian safety, and public safety rather than the general fund. This was done to address concerns about the cameras simply being a new revenue source for the city, with several members of the public — as well as some council members — calling it a “cash grab.” 

“It could be our way of not seeking ‘money grabbing’ from this and really seeking the traffic calming — using it back to the same purpose,” Council President Elisabeth Crawford said after proposing the amendment. “I think this would be a good way to approach that.”

The specifics of this amendment still needs to be addressed by city staff on how to properly allocate the funds.

Assuming the contract suggestion by Mukilteo Police Chief Andy Illyn remains unchanged, the cameras, “signage, installation, mailing of infractions, and payment processing” will be handled by Novoaglobal. 

The police department compared three third-party vendors for the automated traffic camera and chose Novoaglobal for their “local knowledge of Washington Traffic Law” and the availability of a local representative for assistance and troubleshooting. Novoaglobal serves other cities in Washington, such as Everett, Tacoma, Tukwila, and DuPont.

‘[The cameras] are cost neutral, so we’ll never owe them money,” Illyn said. “Any money we would owe them comes out of revenue collected from the fines, so we’ll never find ourselves at a point to where we say, ‘This is costing the city too much money.’” 

This means Novoaglobal essentially takes the first portion of infraction fines until their fee per camera has been met.

  • $3,999.00 park zone / $2,999.00 school zone per system per month, with less than 400 Infractions issued per month. 
  • $4,900.00 park zone / $3,749.25 school zone per system per month, with between 400 and 800 Infractions issued per month. 
  • $5,700.00 / $4,275.00 school zone per system per month, with more than 800 Infractions issued per month.

The fines from the cameras are currently suggested at $125 for going 11-15 mph over the speed limit, $150 for 16+ mph, and $170 for speeding in a school zone. At a 60% payment rate for fines and after a two-year settling period, the total annual projected revenue is $1.76 million. The bulk of this comes from the school zone at $904,000: with 92nd Street Park at $501,000 and Rosehill at $360,000, respectively.

After some discussion, the city also chose to allocate $20,000 in Lodging Tax Grants for tourism to Brand Builder Media in a 4-3 vote, with Council President Crawford, Councilmember Tom Jordal and Councilmember Jason Moon voting against it. This was voted on in an amendment, with the main motion for lodging tax grant recommendations passing 5-2, with Crawford and Moon voting no. 

Council President Crawford — who did not run for reelection — also gave a statement during council comments stating this would be the last for her term, saying:

It has been a great pleasure to serve the residents of the city in this office, one that I have learned to enjoy, appreciate and respect even more than before I sat on this dais. This position can be seen as a thankless job to many and I have to be honest, it is difficult at times. The hardest part is not making everybody happy with the decisions that you make on behalf of an entire community, but the perspective and contribution I have been afforded completely outweighs any of the challenges that I faced over the last four years.

highly recommend to our community members that you get involved in the city and run for office. We can always use new perspective in our local government.

My goal when campaigning for this position was partly to contribute to the diversity in Mukilteo government, both ethnically and generationally. We are growing as a city and deserve to have representation on council.

Since I took office, we have become one of the most diverse councils in the county, if not the most diverse — I don’t know that for sure — and we’ve been working to ensure that we include underrepresented communities and account for them in our policy making.

I’ve been the only woman on council for the past two years. This has been a separate challenge, not one that I wasn’t able to overcome, but one that needs to be highlighted. We can all do better in being the inclusive community that we strive to be, starting here on council. My predecessor will be female and I hope the council extends to her the same level of respect as you do to your fellow male colleagues.

The past four years have gone by so fast. I never imagined I would be serving in this office during a pandemic that shut down our society as we know it — changed the way we interact with each other and our communities. From this pandemic came a large cash contribution from the federal government: one that we can only expect once in a lifetime. Deciding how to spend those federal dollars to benefit our community has been one of the most significant things that I have been able to contribute to in these last four years. I hope that these decisions we made will last for many years to come.

This year, as council president, my goal was for council and the executive department to come together with the common goal of improving the quality of life for our residents by ensuring and improving day-to-day operations and focusing on a limited number of short-term goals that residents can enjoy as amenities in our city. 

I want to thank my colleagues, those city council members who trusted me and who were collaborative and allowed us to move these goals forward. 

I want to thank the executive department: Mayor Joe Marine, City Administrator Powers, and the rest of their team for joining us in achieving these common goals.

I want to thank the rest of the city department heads and their staff for executing day-to-day operations with pride and diligence. 

And I would like to thank the residents that keep an eye on what’s going on in our city and attend city council meetings, comment and send emails. Thank you for your engagement in your local government. 

Thank you all for a successful year. I’m really proud of the work we did this year and the last four years. The way we’ve overcome the pandemic and the level of community engagement since then. 

Lastly, I would like to thank my husband, Paul, my family and my friends who have been there for me since 2019, supporting me every step of the way. 

I have faith it will only get better here on out and if the council decides to continue the tradition of electing Council Vice President Harris for council president next year, I am sure you will continue to move things forward.  

This is not a goodbye, but a farewell until we meet again. Thank you. And I apologize — it is a very bittersweet moment for me. I’ve really enjoyed the work that we’ve done. I’m on to the next season of my life and maybe next week, by next meeting, I’ll have welcomed the new member of my family. Thank you.

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