The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 6, 2013

City councilman: Camera installations take time

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — A Sunbury councilman said he needed to respond to articles asking why nearly four years after receiving $200,000 in grant money for surveillance cameras and more than six months after they were purchased not a single camera hangs in the city.

“They will be,” Todd Snyder said. “It’s not as simple as you think. It’s not just well now, the city has cameras, where are they?”

Snyder, who is the project coordinator, said he has been in contact with city Mayor David Persing and police Chief Steve Mazzeo about the cameras and where the project stands.

“We used every dime for the cameras and equipment,” Snyder said. “We are doing the installation in-house, and we will continue to go that route.”

Snyder said the cost will be about $20,000.

“We have an IT budget, and we will be doing this slowly,” he said. “We aren’t just going to hang these cameras because people are out complaining. We want to do this right, and sometimes that takes time.”

Councilman Jim Eister said the original plans were to install the cameras in-house, but that proposal fell through when Snyder became unavailable because of his work schedule.

Snyder said he has had job requirements that have forced him out of the area.

“My schedule got worse instead of better,” Snyder said. “But we are still going to do the majority of these installations in-house.”

The grant, secured by former U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, D-10 of Dimock, provided for 200 cameras. Fifty of those were supposed to be stationary cameras and were to be online by Jan. 1, Snyder originally said. Sunbury also was supposed to use 12 mobile cameras for surveillance.

“We have top-of-the-line equipment, and we will do what’s right when we install it,” Snyder said. “We are going to be getting a team of people together, and we are going to get our plan ready.”

The city has the capability to link 300 cameras on a network for police to monitor.

“My reaction to reading about why the cameras weren’t up yet was it will come in due time and we don’t want to rush things,” Snyder said. “We will be getting the right people trained to do this, and we will work on the best possible solution on how to get these up and running. But I want everyone to know we are talking, and we will do what’s right for the taxpayer.”