The Town of Sykesville passed the much debated Speed Camera Ordinance at Monday's public hearing, with minor modifications. The modifications will allow the town to use the cameras anywhere within school zones. Public participation was fairly light and less impassioned than at the first hearing on the subject, and the council seemed focused and mostly determined to make a decision.
With Scott Sanzone absent and Leo Keenan voting "no," Mayor Miller and the other council members, Leslie Reed, Frank Robert, Ian Shaw, and Chris True, voted in favor of approving the ordinance.
Perhaps the snow cooled the ardor of camera opponents, or maybe there weren't that many to begin with, but whatever the reason, no one spoke out against the ordinance, a few spoke in favor, and several voiced concerns about practical matters such as camera placement near homes.
Of those speaking in favor, town resident Dick Buczek's statement was the longest and most eloquent. He believes the cameras are an "extension of the police force and only speeders should be concerned with them." He told the council that it is your job "to safeguard residents as best as you can."
Debbie Scheller, a town resident, and owner of A Likely Story bookstore on Main Street said, "As the mother of a new teenage driver, I'm totally in support of this."
Another resident, Julia Betz, said, "To me this is a no-brainer. Put one in front of my house."
John Ellis was quick and to the point when he stepped to the podium and simply stated that he is in favor of the ordinance.
A pleased Chief of Police, John Williams, pointed out that although the ordinance passed, there are still steps to be taken and decisions to be made before the cameras arrive on the streets of Sykesville. The police will soon have a new weapon in the battle against speeding, but the Chief pointed out that they will continue their current aggressive procedures to stop speeding by conventional means.
For more information on the ordinance, see our interview with Police Chief John Williams. We will be adding more details to this story as they become available.