By Mary Thurwachter
A pair of new license plate-reading cameras are destined for Hypoluxo Island. The Lantana Town Council voted Nov. 14 to replace the current readers for $29,257. In 2007, residents of Hypoluxo Island chipped in $28,000 to buy two license plate readers at the intersection of Atlantic Drive and East Ocean Avenue.
Those cameras are antiquated, out of warranty now and suffer from routine operating issues, officials said.
“The devices connect to Manalapan’s software,” Mayor Dave Stewart said. “The town, through its previous town manager, agreed to buy replacements when needed.”
Money for the project will come from the town’s contingency fund. An annual maintenance and support contract would take effect after a year and will cost $4,393.
Islanders encouraged the town to replace the cameras.
“We’re asking the town to make good on the town’s promise,” said Michele Fritts. “The existing ones are not working.”
Media Beverly said residents felt the cameras did help alleviate some crime and should be replaced by the town.
Another resident, Richard Schlosberg, said the cameras have become a staple on the island. “Residents rely on them for a sense of security and they help police with criminal investigations.”
But not everyone agreed with the purchase.
“If we pay for this are we going to be looking at many people asking for cameras all over town?” Vice Mayor Phil Aridas asked. He was the lone dissenting vote on paying for the camera replacements.
Ed Shropshire, who lives west of the Intracoastal Waterway, asked about getting more cameras in the town.
“I’m sure people on the island will sleep better with this, but I would, too,” Shropshire said.
Mayor Stewart said neighbors could get together to raise money for their own cameras. But the cost to set up the system would be about $100,000. “This one connects to Manalapan’s system,” he said.
In other action, the town approved a 4.5 percent raise for Town Manager Deborah Manzo, who received high praise in her performance evaluation. Manzo will be making $131,587, up from her current salary of $125,921. She began working for the town in 2012. Her contract was extended to 2019.