City again offering court fine amnesty

Sean C. Morgan

Some individuals who owe fines to Sweet Home Municipal Court will be able to clear their accounts completely by paying half of what they owe beginning Jan. 1.

Upon payment, license suspensions may be lifted.

Specific conditions must be met to qualify for the program, said Court Clerk Elisha Wilson. The account must be in collections for at least two years.

The outstanding balance must not be under a judgment. This occurs when a collections agency takes a delinquent account to court and a judge awards a judgment against the debtor.

To take advantage of it, half of the outstanding balance must be paid in full to the collections agency. No partial payments will qualify.

The remaining half is written off by the city when the collections agency confirms payment.

Payment may be made by cash, money order, cashier’s check or credit card through April 30, Wilson said.

The program serves two purposes, Wilson said. “It gets it off our books, so we don’t have to handle these accounts over and over.”

Second, it gives people the opportunity to take care of their fines and move on with their lives, she said.

When fines are sent to collections, an offender’s license is suspended for failure to pay.

Once the collection agency notifies Sweet Home Municipal Court of payment, court officials will create reinstatement letters and send them to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Reinstatement may require a $75 fee at the DMV.

This is the second year for the program.

Last year, 18 people used it to pay off fines, a total of $17,092.88, on 33 citations, said city Finance Director Pat Gray.

For more information about the program, call the court at (541) 367-4660 or stop by at 1950 Main St.