The Lafayette City Council voted in favor last night of an ordinance that will allow the city to go after drivers caught by the city's red light cameras.

Under the ordinance, the government can send someone to a collection agency if they have fine of more than $125 that is more than 120 days overdue. If they can't get the money, then the City Parish Attorney will be directed to take the offender.

Council Chairman Jared Bellard, who voted against the ordinance (which passed by a vote of 6-3), told KPEL he's concerned about the sheer number of offenders the city will have to take to court because of the decision.

"There are thousands and thousands of violaters who fall in this range," said Bellard. The ordinance turns the authority to enforce red light camera citations over to the Lafayette Police; the Lafayette City Attorney will be able to bring offenders to court. Bellard said he would rather the citations act as criminal charges, resulting in points taken off offenders' drivers licenses.

The biggest motivator behind the move are the $7.2 million in unpaid fines.

To a caller who protested the legitimacy of the law, Bellard said, "the council has decided that the program is here to stay."

Bellard also spoke to where money from the fines for red light cameras will go. "It's used for various upgrades to the traffic system, such as lighting [and] reflectors on the road."

"It also pays the traffic section of the police department's salaries," he added.

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