Opponents of red light cameras have gotten their way in Morris Township, but it wasn't because a majority of the the governing body didn't favor the devices.
Three out of five committee members had voiced their support for the program and were expected to give it final approval at Thursday's meeting. However, Raymond Snyder, a strong proponent of the cameras, underwent open heart surgery last week and was unable to cast his vote.
"He had a quadruple bypass," said Mayor F. Scott Rosenbush, who added that Snyder was recovering well. "When we found out, we went to the state D.O.T. (Department of Transportation)." A request was made for a one-month extension to give Snyder time to "recuperate and participate."
The request was denied.
This left the committee in a tie, with Rosenbush and Bruce Sisler in favor of the red light cameras and Daniel Caffrey and Peter Mancuso against them.
"We tabled it [effectively killing the [plan]," Rosenbush said. "And we did not act on the bids that were submitted. ... Morris Township would have been one of the first to use this. We would have been on the cutting edge of using new technology for traffic enforcement. It's a shame."
Most of those in attendance did not appear to share the mayor's disappointment. Applause greeted his announcement that the ordinance had been tabled. During the public comment portion of the meeting, multiple residents had come to the microphone to speak about the program's feared expenses, its invasiveness and its possible contribution to increased rear end accidents as drivers jam their breaks to avoid getting tickets.
Morris Township resident Kevin McNally said, "I don't believe the cameras would have been effective at that intersection."
"Perhaps something could be done with a delayed green light," Lee Goldberg said.
A very small glimmer of hope remains for the red light camera program in Morris Township. The Department of Transportion has the power to reverse its decision and grant the extension, allowing Snyder and his tie-breaking vote time to return to the committee. "It's up to them," Rosenbush said, adding that the committeemen had not decided whether they should submit another formal request.