'Operation Green Light' a success after collecting $90,000 in Manatee fines

That was amount Manatee County collected in April from past-due traffic and criminal fines

MANATEE -- "Operation Green Light" was deemed a success by Manatee County officials after they collected $90,000 in past-due traffic and criminal fines.

The statewide initiative, which allowed people to pay past-due traffic and criminal fines without having to pay collection costs, was held April in Manatee County and collected $72,700. Manatee County also allowed anyone who came in to pay off any other open cases with the county raising the total collected to $90,000.

"It's revenue that we wouldn't have seen this soon," said Tammi Colmorgen, Clerk of Courts supervisor of traffic and financial recovery. "There's still millions and millions to be collected but it was a successful five hours."

A total of 265 cases in collection were paid in full reinstating 34 driver's licenses and making another 139 driver's licenses eligible for reinstatement. Collection fees usually increase fines by up to 40 percent.

"We had people lined before we even opened the doors, and we had a steady flow of people all day long," Colmorgen said. "We actually had to turn a few people away. ... They showed up after we were closed."

During the event, people were also able to phone in payments.

Most counties participated April 18 although a few held the event beforehand. Only two counties did not participate, according to the Florida Clerk of Courts Cooperation.

Operation Green Light was a one-time event. Colmorgen said there is no talk about offering the break again.

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.

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