Town Threatens To Turn Off Utilities If You Won't Pay Your Darn Traffic Ticket

So you wanna go cruising through red lights in Las Cruces, N.M. and then just not pay up when you get a ticket? Hope you like using an outhouse, as the town might start shutting off utilities for anyone not handing over their fine money.

ABCNews.com says that after three years of having cameras at intersections, violators have run up $2 million in unpaid fines. The city is due $600,000, with the rest split up between the camera company and the state of New Mexico.

“Over time we were looking at various options, various ways to recoup that money,” Udell Vigil, the communications director for the City of Las Cruces, told ABCNews.com. “We can’t go through the courts; it’s not that type of citation. We don’t have legal enforcement authority.”

During their research, officials discovered a choice bit of the municipal code, which seems to provide a solution: “The city may decline, fail or cease to furnish utility service to any person who may be in debt to the city for any reason, except ad valorem taxes and special assessments.”

Violators will soon receive letters with ticket deadlines. If they refuse, no more water, sewage and gas. The city can’t control electric utilities as they don’t provide them in the first place.

“What we are seeing is that people who have received these letters are taking care of it,” said Vigil. “There are some angry customers that come in and say it isn’t proper the city is going this route.”

New Mexico Town Residents May Lose Utilities for Unpaid Red Light Violations [ABCNews.com]