Pasco council wants input on red-light cameras, district-based voting

The Pasco City Council wants to know if residents would be in favor of installing safety cameras at certain intersections in an attempt to cut down on motorists who run red lights.

That question is one of two agreed upon by a majority of the council Monday night and likely to be included in an upcoming community survey.

Pasco sends out the National Citizen Survey every two years with standard questions about the availability and quality of municipal services.

The survey also can address up to three “policy” issues.

Monday was the third time in the past month the council has debated just what those three questions should be. The questions are written so survey participants respond: strongly support/agree, somewhat support/agree, somewhat oppose/disagree, strongly oppose/disagree.

The random survey will be sent to 1,400 Pasco residents, at a base cost of $12,500.

“The standardized survey instrument allows us to compare with other communities as to quality and satisfaction with services the city provides,” Deputy City Manager Stan Strebel previously told the council.

The random survey will be included in utility bills and will be directed to an adult member of the household at that address.

Additionally, council members voted to offer a survey online so all residents can weigh in on the issues and to have a Spanish-language option. Those results will be kept separate from the scientific survey, and will be broken down geographically by council districts.

A city staff report noted that some cities across the country have implemented red-light cameras at problematic intersections to discourage violators through automatic ticketing.

Councilman Al Yenney said he is “not an advocate of having cameras on the public, but I have noticed an increase of what I’d call ‘pushing the limits.’”

Yenney said there have been several times in the last few months where he might have been one of the statistics for being hit in an intersection had he not been driving defensively.

Council members also agreed to ask residents if they support district-based voting in general elections.

Currently, the November election is open to voters citywide, but some people believe that dilutes and marginalizes the voting rights of minority groups in violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act.

Council members have not been able to agree on the third question.

Two weeks ago, Councilman Saul Martinez asked if they could add marijuana production and retail sales to the mix. Now, up for consideration is a question dealing with the city’s current ban.

Yenney said he would support that question if there is a way to track the answers and make sure they only are coming from people in Pasco.

Council members also are looking at asking residents if they might be interested in curbside recycling at an additional cost and whether people who frequently request large volumes of public records should be required to pay a proportionate share of the costs.

The council will vote Oct. 19 on the final questions.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer