Hidalgo County leaders are proud of the development of a new initiative aimed to collect on outstanding fines and fees owed to Justice of the Peace courts. Approximately 200,000 cases with pending amounts due have been made available online for the public to view and settle their debts. Individuals with cases over 90 days delinquent are at risk for being denied County services.
Formerly known as the “Operation: Clean Slate” pilot project, the Justice of the Peace Enhanced Collections Program was developed by an interdepartmental committee spearheaded by County Judge Ramon Garcia and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios, along with JP offices and other various key stakeholders that worked diligently to expand, enhance and refine the Justice of the Peace fines and fees collections initiative. Based on lessons learned from the pilot project, the County has been readying itself to take action on the next phases of the project.
The enhanced collections program aims to recoup all outstanding fines and fees by denying motor vehicle registration renewals to any member of the public if their unpaid debt is delinquent over 90 days. The enhanced program expands from the agreement with TXDMV through the state’s traditional Scofflaw program which only denies services to delinquent individuals who can be identified through their registered vehicle identification number. Instead, Hidalgo County’s program will pre-screen all individuals by name and date of birth and deny County services should a person be flagged on the list. The program will provide an innovative and technologically-advanced solution and include automatic payment processing and daily uploads to the online database for more streamlined processes. Over the last two months, the committee worked diligently with all nine Justice of the Peace courts and staff to ensure the accuracy of the list (which was expanded from a ten-year snapshot to include all monies owed for all cases in the County’s judicial database system).
The list is available for the public online atwww.co.hidalgo.tx.us/jpcollections. Residents who owe can be made aware whether they have been flagged as a "scofflaw" for skirting their financial obligations and can choose to pay in full online or contact the JP office to make payment arrangements. The County is assured that this Enhanced Collections Program will have a tremendous impact on collecting on outstanding debt owed in unpaid fines and fees.