Last month, we heard that the city was considering an ordinance that would let the state deny a vehicle registration based on an unpaid red light camera ticket. City Council has now passed that ordinance.
Now, if a driver does not pay after 85 days, the city can get the Texas Department of Transportation to put a "hold" on the vehicle owner's registration that cannot be cleared until the ticket is paid.
"It's not complex," Mayor Bill White said. "If you get a citation when you're running the red light, then you pay the citation. Or, if you think there's some mistaken identity, then you go and contest it. It's pretty simple. But what you don't have an option to do is just ignore the citation."
Council members Michael Sullivan, Jolanda Jones and Ronald Green opposed the measure, although numerous others had questions about how effectively it could be implemented and whether it would add a burden to vehicle registration for those who may not be aware they were ticketed.
Sullivan said he was skeptical of the ordinance for a number of reasons: what if a couple goes through a divorce and the notice of a ticket goes to the wrong address? What if someone gives away a vehicle as a gift? He also cast doubt on whether the process would be fluid, given that it involves the city, a private contractor that administers the cameras, the county, which handles vehicle registration renewals and the state, which will apply the holds.