- Ben Carson: America’s now ‘very much like Nazi Germany’
- Heroin found on N.J. toddler at day care
- Pistorius trial: Police conduct faces scrutiny
- Gaza militants fire large rocket barrage at Israel
- CBO chief: Projected job loss numbers from minimum wage hike are fluid
- Rep. Rangel: ‘No question’ Harlem explosion is result of gas leak, not terrorism
- Dog left in car blasts horn for 15 minutes
- DCCC chair hopes Alex Sink will run again in November
- U.S., allies threaten ‘further action’ against Russia
- Obama to order businesses to hike overtime pay for salary workers
District wary of new tax camera
Some local officials say they are hesitant to follow Arlington County's lead in using cameras to collect delinquent property taxes and unpaid parking tickets.
Arlington County officials have collected nearly $30,000 in outstanding debts since they began using the BootFinder in April, The Washington Times reported last week. The BootFinder consists of a laptop computer and a hand-held camera that scans the license plates of parked cars to identify scofflaws.
The BootFinder, which was developed by Alexandria high-tech company G2 Tactics, has not gained a sizable number of users, and many officials in neighboring jurisdictions were unaware of the program.
"I cannot say if it's something we would consider," said Mary Myers, spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Public Works. "I don't know if it would financially make sense to [implement cameras]. That may be a decision for a financial analyst to wrestle with."
Lucy Murray, director of communications for the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, would not comment on whether the camera would benefit the city.
"We pass whatever the D.C. Council puts in front of us," Miss Murray said. "It hasn't been introduced in front of the council yet, so we wouldn't want to take a position on [using cameras] yet."
Meanwhile, Maryland law requires the auction of liens on property belonging to anyone with outstanding debts, said Robert Hagedoorn, Montgomery County treasury chief.
"With that law, we're going to get our money either way, so a camera would be [unnecessary]," Mr. Hagedoorn said.
However, Alexandria Finance Director Dan Neckel said the city is looking into implementing a similar system.
"It looks good. We're looking into it, but [talks] are still in its preliminary stages," he said. "We're comparing the prices of the [BootFinder] and another competitor, but it sounds nifty."
Arlington County spent $27,000 to buy the camera, and has recovered about $900 each hour of its use, said Arlington County Treasurer Frank O'Leary.
The county has collected $29,847.51 on 72 vehicles in 33 hours after beginning the program April 19, Mr. O'Leary said.
In Arlington, two treasury workers patrol the city in a van, aiming the camera at the license plates of parked cars. The camera is connected to a laptop computer that compares the name registered to the license number against a database of persons with outstanding taxes or fines.
If a car's owner has any unpaid taxes or fines, the computer audibly informs the camera's operator, who calls the treasurer's office for verification. After the information is verified, the workers remove the car's license plates and place a bright green levy sticker on the driver's side of the windshield.
The camera has several lenses, including infrared, that can read the license plates of parked or passing vehicles, Mr. O'Leary said.
"Our system is not so high-tech" in the District, Miss Myers said. "We just provide [wheel boot installers] with a list of vehicles with three or more 30-day-old tickets."
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Female TSA officers say pat-down duty leads to workplace discrimination
- Deportations come mostly from border, DHS chief says
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
- Last laugh: Marine vet fires off jokes from the grave with own obituary
- Special ops forces wearing thin from high demand
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again