NEW HAVEN UNVEILS “THE PLATE HUNTER,” A NEW AND IMPROVED PROGRAM TO GO AFTER $3 MILLION IN DELINQUENT MOTOR VEHICLE TAXES
(2/14/2008) NEW HAVEN- At a media event today, New Haven’s Tax Collector, C.J. Cuticello, unveiled the City’s new and improved device for tracking down vehicles with unpaid tax bills. Known internally as “The Plate Hunter,” the new device takes the City’s highly successful tax-recovery program to a new level. Instead of one camera with a single range of sight, the new device can scan license plates on both sides of the street simultaneously, doubling the range that a tow truck can cover at one time.
There are 10,026 motor vehicle accounts that have been past-due since July 1, 2007 representing a total delinquency of $2,062,685.Additionally, there are 6,761 supplemental motor vehicle accounts outstanding since January 1, 2008 with a total delinquency of $984,263. Last fall, the program motivated residents to pay their past-due bills to the City resulting in upwards of $3 million in tax payments in only the first week of that initiative. In those first seven days of the fall 2007 program, the City towed 204 vehicles representing $63,829 in delinquent tax dollars.
The “plate hunter” program involves three units, each with a tow truck and a state marshal, covering 127 miles of New Haven streets to seize vehicles with outstanding tax bills. Each tow truck will have a “plate hunter” mounted on to it.
“The plate hunter is a state-of-the-art device that can scan both sides of the street at the same time and displays both sides of the street simultaneously on the viewing screen, in color,” said Cuticello. “This new equipment generates maps with locations, coordinates, time, date, record of the delinquent account and more. The program can be networked and linked to an operations center for additional uses such as responding to Amber Alerts and finding stolen vehicles.”
The “plate hunter” also has the ability to differentiate states and provides hands free operation increasing safety for the tow operators. When the “plate-hunter” identifies vehicles with delinquent bills, they are seized and towed to a storage yard. Residents must pay motor vehicle taxes before they can retrieve their vehicles from towing companies. Residents will also have to pay the charges set by the towing companies before their vehicles are released.
“We’ll cover every area of this city, every neighborhood and every district to track down delinquent vehicles,” said Cuticello. “This program has been successful every time we’ve run it and I’m confident that we’ll meet or exceed our goals this time around.”
If a resident’s vehicle is towed on a Friday after business hours or on a Saturday morning, tax bills can be paid at the tax collector’s office in City Hall between the hours of 9am and 1pm on Saturdays. If a vehicle is towed between Monday and Friday afternoon, tax bills are to be paid at the tax collector’s office in City Hall between 9am and 5pm.
The office of the tax collector will be working in conjunction with the department of traffic and parking to not only collect outstanding taxes but to also ensure that residents are paying for delinquent traffic and parking violations. Traffic and parking violations can be reconciled at the traffic office at 200 Orange Street.
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