Gulfport collects $30k at start of amnesty program

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport's amnesty program to collect overdue fines has paid off in its first days.  Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel told WLOX News the city has collected more than $30,000 in back fines due the city.   The city announced the amnesty program Friday.

The Gulfport Municipal Court program official begin Monday, February 1.  The court is giving those with outstanding traffic and other fines a break.   Through March 15, those with delinquent fines to pay the court without penalty or fear of jail time. Even those with warrants for failing to appear will not be arrested if they pay their fines within the 43-day amnesty period.

In some cases, the savings to motorists could be substantial.

"This will provide an opportunity for citizens to get out from under their delinquent traffic fines without fear of penalty and get their driver's license back, and at the same time generate revenue for the City of Gulfport," said Municipal Court Administrator Odell Thompson.

Thompson said the Municipal Court offered a similar amnesty program in 2006, and collected more than $150,000 in old fines during a two-week period. The court currently has more than 47,000 outstanding violations with fines.

The court hours will be extending from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. during the amnesty program.

Rules for the Feb. 1-March 15 amnesty program:

  • Defendants must pay the fine in person at the court with some form of identification.
  • Defendants must pay the fine and court cost in full. Fines must be paid by cash, credit card, money order or cashier's check.
  • Fines can be paid in full at the Municipal Court building at 2810 34th Avenue.

For more information, call the Gulfport Court Amnesty hotline at (228) 575-7799.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.