Brownsville, TX - The city of Brownsville has awarded a contract to Wireless CCTV, LLC., of Garland, TX. The contract is to purchase, a network of 11 cameras, according to a Department of Public Health memorandum. The price for, 11 WCCTV Mini Dome Cameras w/ License Plate Readers (LPRs), 2 TB (terabyte) HDD DVRs, WCCTV support package & VZW data plan (24 Months), a Solar Power Pack for Mini Dome cameras comes out to $114,642.70 plus $4,000 for shipping. "They are very versatile and that is something needed in Brownsville." explained Public Health Director Arturo Rodriguez. The city's problem with illegal dumping has been well recorded and with the rise of mosquito born illnesses, Rodriguez along with city commissioners believe the cameras could stop trash from being piled up.
The cameras serve a dual role; discourage dumpers and prosecute if needed, "the health department has made it clear, that they are being serious about illegal dumping and that is something that the city has been fighting as a whole. It is very unsightly it's unsanitary and it is a major inconvenience financially on the city." said Brownsville Chief of Police Orlando Rodriguez.
The irony of the purchase is how it's being paid for as explained in the memorandum, "The City Commission approved funds on November 7,2017 from the Plastic Bag Fee Remittance account" Last year Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to sue the city of Brownsville for a plastic bag ordinance that charged customers $1 per-transaction at check out. Paxton called the check out fee and collection an illegal sales tax despite city leaders arguing the fee is based on options; bring reusable bags or pay for plastic. News Center 23 reported, between fiscal year 2011 to 2017, as of December 31, 2016, more than $4 million in fees were collected. "It is ironic but I think it is in the spirit of what we were originally intended to be doing with those type of funds." explained Director Rodriguez.
The city is no longer collecting funds from the plastic bag fees but hopes the cameras will pay for themselves through cost cutting measures through time and labor to clean up illegal dumping and "expect to generate revenue by citations through our Municipal Court system." as stated in the memorandum.
City of Brownsville Records pg 202 - 221