Photo radar operations cost city nearly $47M more than expected

The city's decision to run its own photo radar program cost $46.9 million more than anticipated, according to a report by the city auditor.

The original cost estimate for the project was pegged at $6.7 million

The city's decision to run its own photo radar program cost $46.9 million more than anticipated, according to a report by city auditor David Wiun. 

The city decided to take control of the photo radar program from a private company in 2007. At the time, they estimated the cost over the next five years would be $6.7 million.

However, Wiun's report found the cost was nearly eight times that amount, totalling $53.6 million.

The report provided a number of reasons for the gross miscalculation, including a change in the law that led to an increase in tickets and number of photo radar units being used.

While there were 400,000 more tickets than the original estimate over the same five years, the city still used another company to process the fines, which costs about $19 million more than anticipated.

Transportation manager Gord Cebryk says the city needed to use the private company for fine processing because there was no software available,

"There was nothing at the time that was off the shelf that was available," he said. 

Coun. MichaelOshry wonders why the problem didn't come to light until now.  

“I would have thought administration would have known a little more about this over the last few years and given us the heads up something wasn't quite right," he said. 

The auditor said the cost overruns were covered by the revenues from tickets, so there was no impact on taxpayers.

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