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Another snafu surfaces in Buffalo school speed zone camera program

The city is investigating why offenders aren't receiving their tickets in a timely manner.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — There have been a lot of different types of complaints about the school zone speeding camera program in Buffalo since it went live in October.

Now there's a new one to add to the list.

"Myself and Delaware District Councilman Joel Feroleto and the Council President are just being overwhelmed with the number of complaints from folks getting these tickets weeks and months after the alleged infractions," University District Common Councilmember Rasheed N.C. Wyatt said.

"People are becoming very angry and we are feeling it." 

Moreover, the failure to issue the tickets in a timely manner, according to Wyatt, appears to be in violation of the state's enabling legislation, which allowed the City of Buffalo to establish the program.

It includes language specifying that tickets have to be mailed out within 14 business days of a violation.

According to Feroleto, there may be thousands of motorists who are just now receiving tickets for infractions committed months ago, which according to Wyatt leads to another problem.

"When they don't pay it by the due date, which in some cases has been seven days, they are charged an additional $25. We thought we were doing the right thing to try and make this program work appropriately, and we're not seeing that ... and this is just the latest of numerous problems associated with it," Wyatt said.

Benjamin Burge got two tickets, contending that on October 26 he was going faster than the 15-mph school zone speed limit near the Nichols School in North Buffalo.

He didn't receive them until December 3.

As an attorney, he felt well prepared to contest the tickets, and he attempted to do so first by going on line to the vendor's website, which was listed on the ticket.

"I wanted to select a hearing date, but there are no dates that populate ... only blank screens, which was frustrating," Burge said. "So I tried the call-in number, but no one answers the phone. You get a voicemail that says you can leave a message and someone will call you back."

But according to Burge, he waited all day Friday for a return call and did not receive one.

City of Buffalo Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer says he was fist made aware of the issue on Friday, and the city has contacted the vendor in a diligent attempt to find out what is going on and the extent of the problem.

He also indicated that tickets which the vendor failed to process and send out in a timely manner may possibly be dismissed.