Traffic cameras: Cedar Rapids addressing unpaid citations and leases

A Red Light camera monitors an intersection in Cedar Rapids.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - The city of Cedar Rapids may be able to take your casino winnings or state tax refund if you don't pay your citation from a traffic camera.

That's one change to the city's automated traffic enforcement program the Cedar Rapids city council will vote on Tuesday.

The biggest change targets unpaid violations by turning the debt over to the State of Iowa Income Offset program. That program allows the state to withhold payments to people who owe money to the state or local government. Through the program, the city would be able to collect on unpaid citations through casino or lottery winnings, state tax refunds or other money the state may owe you, including payment for work done for the government.

Here is more information about the program.

Only about 55% of those traffic camera citations were paid last fiscal year. The city is not allowed to report the unpaid tickets to credit ratings agencies and the tickets do not go against a driving record, so the city has been looking for a way to add teeth to collect citations.

The city also plans to add a 25% late fee to citations not paid or appealed by the due date.

The city council vote would also address another issue: leased vehicles.

City code now issues citations to the registered owners of vehicles caught speeding or running a red light. Last year, KCRG reported Jonathan Schmidt appealed his citations on his leased vehicle, arguing the leasing company is the registered owner and should get the citation.

The city will vote Tuesday on changing the definition of vehicle owner to include the lessee of a vehicle.

The city is still facing a legal challenge around cameras on Interstate 380. A judge has ruled the cameras violate Iowa DOT rules put in place after the cameras were installed. The city is appealing but has stopped issuing citations from those cameras.