Fine crackdown starts
David Barkemeyer
Milam County Judge

The four Justices-of-the-Peace along with the two assistants from Precincts 1 and 2 in the Cameron Law Enforcement Center met recently with the collection specialist from the law firm McCreary, Veselka, Bragg, and Allen to plan our strategy for collecting past due fines.

We have the same problem that seems to exist in most places, that is a lot of people seem to think that it’s not necessary to pay their fines, particularly traffic tickets.

Seems to me that if our DPS officers, sheriff’s deputies, and constables are going to work hard for us to try to keep our highways safe, and go to all that trouble to issue citations to those that break the law, then everyone ought to have to pay up, not just the ones that are conscientious.

Milam County’s delinquent fines are approaching $2 million total. In April of last year Commissioner’s Court hired MVBA to be the county’s collection agent. Precinct 1 and 2 and the County Court have been working with them with some $75,000 in delinquent fines collected to date.

We’re going to step up our efforts significantly with all four JP offices now working with MVBA.

Our goal is to collect $400,000 by the end of the year. This is a fairly aggressive goal but should be achievable in that we are just getting started. All those with fines 60 days overdue will receive letters from the law firm, with various means being utilized to contact those that are difficult to locate.

Those who c ont i nue to be delinquent will have their names entered into Omni base which means that they will not be able to renew their driver’s license until their fine is paid.

In addition a warrant will be issued for their arrest which will further complicate their lives including the possibility of arrest and jail confinement. An additional 30 percent collection fee will be added to the fine. We’re also considering the alternative of implementing a program to block renewal of vehicle registrations for those with outstanding fines.

I know this all sounds harsh, but to me it just doesn’t seem fair for part of us to be paying fines while those who refuse to pay simply are allowed to get by with it.

Did you not elect us to enforce the law, rather than letting them get by without doing anything about it? To me, it’s part and parcel to efficient county government.

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2011-02-24 digital edition

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