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An ordinance allowing speed-detection cameras in school zones is expected to be adopted at the Rome City Commission meeting Monday.

The board also is slated to enact ordinances regulating small-cell wireless antennas in the public right of way and set fees for telecommunications companies who want to erect them.

Commissioners start their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m., following a 5 p.m. caucus, in City Hall, 601 Broad St. Both sessions are public.

The first speed-detection camera is slated for Veterans Memorial Highway in front of Rome High School.

A contract with provider RedSpeed USA and approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation will likely take about three months to finalize. Signs must be posted when the cameras are in operation.

Police Capt. Chris Dehart told the board earlier this month that drivers are often clocked at 60 mph in front of Rome High, where the limit is set at 45 mph during school hours. Speeds in the 70s and 80s aren’t uncommon, he noted, but it’s hard to post officers on a four-lane divided highway.

The Georgia General Assembly approved the use of automated school-zone cameras this year, with more restrictions than the ill-fated red light camera law from a decade ago.

A ticket won’t be generated unless a driver is going more than 10 miles over the speed limit and there will be a 30-day grace period where violators will get warnings instead of citations.

Police will review the photographic evidence before sending out a citation and no points will be assessed against a driver’s license. The tickets go to the registered owner of the vehicle, along with information about when and where the violation occurred.

The ordinance sets a fine of $75 for a first violation and $125 for any subsequent violation. A processing fee of up to $25 also may be assessed.

Police Chief Denise Downer-McKinney said if the Rome High initiative proves successful in slowing speeders, she wants to install them next on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Children attending Main Elementary also have to cross a divided highway to get to school.

City Commissioners also plan to enact an ordinance spelling out the permitting process for small-cell wireless equipment.

A state law streamlining the placement goes into effect Oct. 1 and local governments have a few tools to protect residential areas and historic districts. The law also caps fees that may be assessed.

Under a resolution that will be presented to the board Monday night, companies would pay $1,000 for a new pole or $100 to co-locate a small wireless facility on an existing pole. They’ll also pay an annual fee of $100 per small-cell that shares a pole with others and $200 for each one on a new pole.

First readings also are scheduled for ordinances regulating so-called urban camping by homeless people and panhandling around the city. Adoption could be as early as the board’s Oct. 14 meeting.

The proposed ordinances sparked the creation of a Homelessness Task Force to try to address the underlying problem. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 26 at West Rome Baptist Church’s The Well.


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