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LibbyMt.com > News > April 2010 > Mayor to ask council for yea or nay on cameras


Mineral Avenue. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Mineral Avenue
The cost of surveillance cameras with usable night vision capability has turned out to be higher than initially estimated, according to Mayor Doug Roll. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.

Kootenai Valley Record. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Kootenai Valley Record
Mayor to ask council for yea or nay on cameras
by Brent Shrum, Kootenai Valley Record
April 1, 2010

Libby Mayor Doug Roll is bringing a proposal to place surveillance cameras on Mineral Avenue back to the city council for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on moving ahead with the project.

Roll and Police Chief Jim Smith initially presented the proposal to the council in January. At that time, Smith estimated the cost of installing the cameras at $48,000 to $62,000. Further investigation has revealed that to obtain the necessary quality to make the cameras useful at night Ė when they are most needed Ė a system covering the length of the Mineral Avenue business district would cost more than $100,000, Roll said last week.

"The cameras that we needed were very expensive," he said.

Options to cut costs include reducing the portion of the street covered by the cameras, cutting the hours the cameras are in operation, and substituting motion-activated still cameras for video cameras, Roll said. Whatever system might be selected, the city will need help from downtown property owners to pay for it, he said.

"We donít have the money to do that," Roll said. "Not all by ourselves."

Roll plans to update the council on the matter at its next meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 5. He said heíll be asking for permission to continue talking with property owners regarding sharing the cost of the cameras.

Roll acknowledged that the issue of surveillance cameras has generated some controversy. He stressed that the cameras would not be monitored; images from the system would only be downloaded for review by police in the event of vandalism or other incident under investigation.

"A lot of businesses already have it, but itís usually in the store," Roll said. "Some of them have cameras outside, but itís usually so grainy and poor quality that you canít really get anything out of it."
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Editorís Note: See the March 30, 2010 edition of the Kootenai Valley Record for the printed version of this story. The Kootenai Valley Record publishes once a week, on Tuesdays, in Libby, Montana. They are a locally owned community newspaper, located at 403 Mineral Avenue in Libby. For in-county and out-of-county subscription information, call 406-293-2424, or e-mail kvrecord@gmail.com.


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