Interestingly, there appears to be bipartisan consensus on the Commissioners Court against the deal, with El Franco Lee, Steve Radack, Jerry Eversole and Sylvia Garcia all speaking out against it. I was particularly pleased with Garcia's comments:The city's plan to withhold vehicle registrations of motorists who have ignored $16 million worth of red-light camera citations has hit a roadblock at the county courthouse.The county judge and three county commissioners oppose a proposed city-county scofflaw contract, with some describing it as a money-grab by the city and others concerned it could hamper collection of the county's portion of state vehicle registration fees.“The downside is becoming a tool of the city for their incredible revenue grab,“ Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said. “It's come to look like it's more of a revenue situation than trying to change people's behavior.”Only the county tax office, after executing a contract approved by the commissioners court, can refuse vehicle registrations based on non-payment of citations and fines, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation said Monday.At stake is some $16 million in uncollected civil fines from motorists caught by 70 red-light cameras since the city program began in May 2006. To date, the city has issued 607,000 violations and collected $21.3 million in fines.
Garcia said she is concerned that residents whose registrations are blocked could face penalties if they are ticketed for an expired registration.“All it does if you tack on fees, you're going to make if more difficult to collect and right now is not the time to be beating someone to death with fines and fees,” said Garcia, former chief of Houston municipal courts.