Pine Lawn politicians using speed camera money for salaries

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PINE LAWN, MO (KTVI)-- The You Paid For It team investigates speed cameras in the tiny city of Pine Lawn.

Only about 3,200 people live in Pine Lawn, yet officials expect to collect nearly a million dollars off speed camera tickets.

Pine Lawn has some of the highest salaries of any community its size in the St Louis Area.

About six months after okaying the deal with the speed camera company, Pine Lawn alderman changed the job of the mayor from part time to full time.

They boosted his pay from $20,000 a year to $60,000 a year, a 200 percent increase that Mayor Sylvester Caldwell got after he won re-election.

Pine Lawn insists it will use the street camera money for streets not salaries. But the city administrator confirmed that the board can spend it however they want.

Citizens hate the dreaded cameras that have politicians smiling all the way to the bank.


  • Jeff

    How about you do a story on how speeding and running red lights can get people killed!! It’s real simple..don’t want a ticket?? DON”T RUN A RED LIGHT OR SPEED!!!

    • teryle huntspon

      geting a ticket for doing 37 miles at a 35 mile speed limit is not speeding and that ticket cost $50 dollars.and they had a line down the street paying for that same ticket.

  • Mike Shipman

    • It is a tragedy and a great burden upon any citizen of this country, both young and old, when any government, be it a village or township, city, state or federal, who willfully and/or knowingly abuse the power and authority given to them by the very citizens who they are charged and sworn to serve, protect and defend.
    • Great also is the responsibility, and heavy is the burden upon any government whose solemn duty it is to serve, protect and defend dissident and/or subversive people or communities who are not law abiding but seek to undermine the laws put in place for the good and safety of all the people.

    I am no expert on laws, but anyone who has driven a car or has rode in a car knows that the driver and passengers must obey the governing traffic laws while driving on any public road in this country or face the consequences of breaking the law. Even driving 5 miles an hour over the posted speed limit is still breaking the law and in some stretches of public road can and will result in more than a traffic ticket.
    Perhaps the good mayor of Pine Lawn who’s focus on commitment, public service and healthy lifestyles will hear the outcry of his fellow citizens demanding justice for what they believe to be unjust speed cameras and provide comprehensive treasury and financial reports for those citizens who believe the revenue from the speed cameras is being used for city salaries.
    Or perhaps the good citizens of Pine Lawn might simply just slow it down. It surely couldn’t hurt and you might even save a life and keep your driving privilege. (yes…. Driving is indeed a privilege.) Not to mention your insurance rates would remain affordable.
    My advice is keep your Mayor informed with your questions and concerns. The city of Pine Lawn has their own website which provides links to the Mayor and other city officials. Let’em know how you feel, put’em to the task and listen to what he has to say. I would also try slowing it down thru those speed cameras. (Thank you Fox2 team for putting them on the spot!).

    Respectfully yours,

  • James Tinder

    Even if the money was used for salaries does it really matte .. they cant spend it all on salaries and the rest of the money is what you should be focusing on not just salaries …. people should not be speeding in the first place … im sure tons of people who dont have cars walk around and kids too….why speed … to save maybe 3 mins … literally! Find out where the rest of the 1million is going not just 40-80 thousand of it is going !

  • Stephen

    By the way crashes due to exceeding the speed limit ARE 1.6 PERCENT!

    Not 1/3!

    So quit lying camera side on your “safety” claims!

    quote: State Reports Show Speeding Not a Significant Cause of Accidents

    Analysis of data from twenty-five states confirms exceeding the speed limit is not a significant cause of accidents.

    Speed accident chartsOut of 2.7 million traffic accidents recorded in twenty-five states over the course of a year, only 1.6 percent were caused by drivers who exceeded the posted speed limit. The figures come from an analysis by TheNewspaper of annual reports typically compiled by each state for use in applying for grant money from the National Highway Transportation Agency (NHTSA).

  • James Walker

    Speed cameras produce profits ONLY when the posted limits are set less safely and artificially below the safest 85th percentile speed levels.

    Correctly set 85th percentile speed limits almost always produce greater safety, smoother traffic flow, and fewer crashes.

    BUT it is not profitable to post speed limits for safety, so cities like Pine Lawn post them for revenue. Then it is not surprising the revenue is spent in ways that have nothing whatever to do with the roads.

    Citizens should demand an end to the speed cameras and demand that main road limits be set for safety at the 85th percentile speeds. Vote out any Aldermen or the Mayor if they refuse to do this.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • ricky rice

    Pine lawn people are not the only people that drive on jennings rd.and there not making you speed that”s your choice,Elliot focus on all the good Caldwell has done in the city , new housing tore down all them vacant house”s so what if he got a raise he deserves it, and the money is comming from people breaking speeding laws, not raising taxes every body who has photo traffic cams is using the money for there city so why are you just focusing on pine lawn,and you got city”s like clayton chesterfield town
    and country that have plenty of tax money why do they have traffic cams and what are they doing with the money.

  • James Walker

    For ricky rice: When posted limits are set artificially low, well below the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions, it is MORE dangerous to drive at the posted limit compared to going along above the limit with the majority of other drivers.

    Speed cameras are a vicious money grab racket, not a safety program.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • ricky rice

    For Mr. james Walker have you ever been in pine lawn i doubt it ,so you have no ideal how it was before Mr. caldwell took over, street are fixed, vacant houses tore down programs to help the ederly, so if a person goes over the speed limit and get a ticket simple dont speed, im focusing on the part of the interview were Elliott is complianing about his pay and the photo cam profits were there going as long as there not raising taxes and some of the money is being put back into the city thats allright with me.

  • James Walker

    For ricky rice: I have NO quarrel with good things Mr. Caldwell may have done in other areas.

    I have a huge quarrel with improper posted speed limits that tend to make things less safe, and especially when those improper limits are used for a predatory million dollar money grab.

    Using the fines collected for good purposes does NOT justify the predatory money grab under any circumstances.

    Note that Pine Lawn is not unique. I live in a town that has been a border to border speed trap since I moved here in 1962. Enforcement for profits, regardless of what is done with the money, is absolutely wrong.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • ricky rice

    Mr.walker pine lawn is 5 sq. miles with maybe 2 traffic cams if that ,so with all the news coverage that has been done if you cant slow down and drive the speed limit then you get a ticket.

  • Jims talent

    Pine Lawn is a joke,,,,, seriously,,,They have Lou Thimes as an executive,,, LOL ,,,,Check the community to see how many people he has ripped off….They better audit the funds quick….

  • John


    Please find something worth reporting on. No one can estimate how much revenue something like this will bring in. If you don’t speed, they get nothing!!

  • Duddley Dewright

    With a speed camera, you can’t confront your accuser in court, which is what we are supposed to be able to do. Fight back by taking these easy steps –

    Also, since 1995 in the state of Missouri, certain ticket collections are capped at 35% of a town’s revenue. I’m sure the State Auditor will be interested to hear about this!

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