Thornton: how much money changes hands in Scottsdale as a result of photo radar?

We at the Scottsdale Independent are launching an Ask the Editor column to help our readers better understand the municipality in which they live.

Terrance Thornton

This column could be used as a platform to improve the quality of lives of all Scottsdale residents, as you can send me any question via email — — and I will strive to find an answer and provide an explanation.

For instance, a question I’ve always pondered is how much money changes hands as a result of photographing motorists as they pass through certain intersections?

Turns out, just last week Scottsdale City Council approved a likely five-year extension to its existing contract with American Traffic Solutions, which is the third-party provider of just such a service.

For Scottsdale, photo radar is a million-dollar boost to the annual General Fund, which is used for the day-to-day operations of the municipality.

In fiscal year 2015-16 the city of Scottsdale issued 42,290 photo radar tickets in calendar year 2016, collecting $3,080,897 in revenue. Of that amount, its third-party vendor — American Traffic Solutions — received $1,585,876.55, leaving $1,495,020.45 for city coffers, records show.

The data for last year paints a similar picture, with 49,191 tickets issued and $1,622,653 provided to ATC, while $1,283,476 was retained by the municipality. The amount retained by the city is generally referred to as a “General Fund surplus.”

Independent Newsmedia, publisher of the Scottsdale Independent, is a unique publishing and printing company that supports every American’s First Amendment rights and encourages and assists citizens in exercising those rights responsibly.

We’ve published a local newspaper in one form or another in Scottsdale for over three decades. But it’s this unrelenting dedication to that ideal that has lead us to prosper where others have stumbled.

Much of the idea behind that pursuit is as simple as getting tough questions answered and creating simple explanations to complex problems.

So, what can we at the Scottsdale Independent, get answered for you?

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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