Buckhorn willing to move surveillance cameras, but not for $10,000 a pop

At last week's City Council meeting, members of the Council expressed their displeasure when the Buckhorn administration hadn't come up with a specific plan about what to do with the cameras — though the mayor's previous comments made it clear that he'd prefer most, if not all of them, stay in downtown areas where they are already mounted.

Councilman Frank Reddick said seven of the top 10 illegal dumping sites in the city happen in Sulpher Springs and East Tampa, both of which reside in his district seat. He said some of the cameras should be moved to those areas to ward off illicit activity.

Councilman Harry Cohen said the city should conduct a study to see whether they might be a better fit in city owned parking garages and/or lots adjacent to city parks where local residents, "have an expectation of safety."

Buckhorn said that could be arranged by transporting several of the five trailers that contain a total of 16 cameras to those areas.

The Council voted last week to ask members of the the mayor's staff to prepare a report that would focus on a number of questions about the cameras, including a complete breakdown of the costs.

TPD spokesperson Laura McElroy said the cameras are another tool in the department's tool-box to fight crime. The mayor and police department have boasted about how crime has dropped in the city during the past decade. This prompted one critic at last week's meeting to say that considering the lack of protesters during the RNC, the department didn't need the cameras before the convention or during the convention, and they don't need them now.

But Buckhorn said he's not about to get rid of something paid for by the nation's taxpayers.

The $2 million surveillance system was just one of the items the Tampa Police Department paid for out of the $50 million federal grant given to the city for RNC security.

"I'm one of the 53 percent who pays (income) taxes," the mayor joked, referencing Mitt Romney's leaked comments regarding the 47 percent who don't pay any income taxes not being part of his political base.

The issue will be revisited at the council's Oct. 4 meeting.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he'd be amenable to moving some of the

controversial surveillance cameras in downtown Tampa, but only under certain circumstances.

"If it's going to cost $10,000 to move a camera, I'm not doing it," Buckhorn told CL on Saturday night before the Hillsborough County Democratic Party's Kennedy-King dinner.

The costs of moving the cameras come with different price tags (something the Tampa City Council should recognize). Last week, Tampa Police Department officials informed the Council that creating a single-pole mounted camera in a different location would cost $10,000.

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