The new law began just this week. It’s a way to collect money for Cameron County. If you have traffic fines that you haven't paid yet, good luck trying to renew your car registration.
It started two days ago and it's the first time in history that Cameron County does this: Those with outstanding traffic tickets in need of renewing their vehicle registrations will no longer be allowed to register their cars until they pay up their fines.
"There are approximately 73,000 citations, unpaid citations that total approximately $18 million. That’s a lot of money."
Millions of dollars that can be put back in the county's general fund. Tony Yzaguirre, the county's Tax Assessor-Collector, says there's just too much money sitting there that can be used in other areas of the county that can and will help us, the taxpayers.
"I think it's going to alleviate the budget problems throughout the cities and the county and I guarantee you that there could be a big possibility that's going to alleviate tax increases."
"I like it, I like it. Let’s get that money. Because the taxpayers have to pay for everything else anyway, so let everyone be responsible."
County records show there are about 76,000 outstanding citations with about $18 million in fines owed to Cameron County. Other reports show there are more than 160,000 outstanding citations and warrants issued by Brownsville, Harlingen, San Benito, Los Fresnos, Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, Rio Hondo and South Padre Island totaling nearly $16 million.
"There’s a lot of money out there and this money is due, past due to the cities and the counties, so, I think, in my book, it's about time that these individuals pay their fair share."
Yzaguirre says once a person has either paid the fine or made the necessary payment arrangements, the person will receive a release form that must be taken to the Tax Assessor-Collector's Office to be able to get that much needed registration sticker.