License Plate Recognition software is now being used in specially equipped Sheriff’s vehicles to detect license plates, as the marked vehicles drive through parking lots and ramps all over Mecklenburg County. When the software detects a hit, a Sheriff’s Deputy places a warning sticker on the vehicle with notice that the tax must be paid within two days.
The Tax Collector’s Office maintains a database of delinquent taxpayers that is updated three times a week and pushed to the laptops in the Sheriff’s vehicles. The vehicles have cameras that are designed to focus on license plates. Trained deputies drive the specially equipped vehicles through parking lots, parking decks, and anywhere cars are parked. Once a known delinquent plate is spotted, the deputies place a fluorescent yellow sticker on the driver side window, notifying the owner that the delinquent taxes must be paid within two days or the vehicle may be subject to a tax warrant and enforcement action that could result in the vehicle being seized and sold at auction.
Vehicle information is added to the delinquent database once the due date has passed, as well as a late notice and block notice -- a total of five months after the initial due date. The database will begin with 75,000 plates and it is estimated that 10,000 vehicles will be added each month.
Nine deputies and two sergeants are trained to use the equipment. A one-week test of the equipment in June got hits on 46 vehicles and 60 percent of those owners have already paid the taxes and penalties due.
The Tax Collector and Sheriff partnered several years ago to issue and serve warrants and tow vehicles whose owners fail to pay their taxes. The warrant program has resulted in hundreds of thousands of tax dollars being received each year.
Media Contacts: Julie Berger in Tax at 704-432-2044 or Julie.Berger@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov; Julia Rush at 704-336-3667 or Julia.Rush@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov