By Sylvia Gonzalez
ODESSA - The 2013 Warrant Roundup got underway last Friday. It's estimated that the Ector County Compliance Department has close to 9,000 open warrants, all which should bring the county lots of cash. Ector County Attorney Scott Layh says because people are not paying the fines, now the county will go after them.
"They're are gonna knock on the doors, they're gonna stop the cars when we have the license plates that are connecting these people to those warrants. They are actually gonna go and seek them," Layh said.
Layh says since the roundup started 118 people have already made some type of payment arrangement with the Ector County Compliance Department. Due to the unpaid warrants, it's estimated that $3.3 million is due to the county. Layh says that money would go back to the county for various county improvements.
"That money goes into the general fund for Ector County and it's basically funds that help operate Ector County. It's just like the tax money that we receive as well," Layh said.
He says the number of outstanding warrants are higher this year than last year. He credits that to a booming economy. He also says that there is a reason why they chose this time of year to do the warrant round up.
"The fact that the numbers are higher as a whole, you're gonna see more of an outcome, you're gonna probably see more arrests, you are definitely going to see more people coming voluntarily. That's the reason why they set it up for this time is cause people start getting refunds, their tax refunds, so they have a little bit of cash on hand that they can come in and make a payment," Layh said.
Layh says this is not going to be the only round up Ector County residents will be seeing. He says hot checks are also becoming a problem, therefore, he believes that this type of roundup would be necessary too.
"This is a new program that we are going to do on the hot check collection. Checks are being written more frequently over the last year and a half to two years and so we have more hot checks now than we've had in the past three or four years and so we are gonna make sure we collect on those," Layh said.