The Augusta Commission is looking into a "silver bullet" ordinance to collect many, if not most, of the tens of thousands owed in unpaid parking fines - a terribly nettlesome problem. The idea is brilliant in its simplicity.
Tickets' license plate numbers would be turned over to Tax Commissioner Jerry Saul's office, which would withhold new tags until the fines are paid or satisfactorily dealt with.
This "win-win" plan requires no new investment in personnel or software to implement. The ticket data would simply be added to vehicle owners' tax information already in Saul's computers. It would likely take 60 to 90 days to receive and enter the information from the Sheriff's Department.
The threatened loss of tags would provide a huge incentive to settle the fines. The only hang-up could be the proposal's legality - a matter the city attorney is looking into. If it passes muster the Commission should move quickly to OK the ordinance.