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News Release: “Operation Green Light” helps hundreds settle debts, drive legally

WEST PALM BEACH – Nearly 600 people are once again able to drive legally, and more than 2,000 saved thousands of dollars on collection agency fees, thanks to the Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller’s spring 2021 Operation Green Light event.
 
The event, held March 1-5 in Palm Beach County, brought in a total of $502,039.30 in overdue fines and fees – a 60.6% increase from the office’s Operation Green Light event in fall 2020. During Operation Green Light, the office waived collection agency fees for anyone with overdue traffic tickets and court fines who paid their debts in full.
 
During Operation Green Light, the Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller:
 

  • Collected $502,039.30 in overdue fines and fees, and fees collected to establish payment plans;
  • Created 361 payment plans, totaling $309,198.28;
  • Served 2,234 customers, by phone, online and in person;
  • Reinstated 560 driver licenses; and,
  • Issued 1,085 affidavits that will allow customers to restore their driving privileges.
“Operation Green Light is such an important event for our community. I’m proud of our team’s efforts to ensure everyone with overdue fines and fees in Palm Beach County has the chance to pay their debts without paying collection agency fees, and get their driver licenses back so they can once again drive legally,” said Clerk Joseph Abruzzo. “I look forward to expanding this program in the future, so we can help even more people.”
 
Florida law requires Clerk’s offices to turn over unpaid tickets and other outstanding court fines and fees to an outside collection agency if the debt is not paid within 90 days of the due date. People who fail to pay their outstanding fines and fees also have their driver licenses suspended. Their licenses remain suspended until they pay their outstanding fines and fees, as well as collection agency fees that can be as high as 40 percent.
 
The 2021 Operation Green Light was the most successful since 2014, when the Clerk’s office hosted the state’s first-ever Operation Green Light. In 2014, the Clerk’s office collected more than $500,000 in outstanding fines and fees, and reinstated nearly 450 driver licenses.
 
After the first Operation Green Light in Palm Beach County, similar Operation Green Light events were held throughout Florida. Clerks statewide are now required by law to hold an Operation Green Light each year.
 
Clerk’s offices do not keep the money they collect during Operation Green Light. Under state statute, fines, fees and other money collected by the Clerk’s office is distributed to different agencies, including cities, law enforcement agencies, the Board of County Commissioners and the state of Florida.
 
For the latest news and updates from the Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller – including information on the next Operation Green Light event – visit www.mypalmbeachclerk.com, follow @ClerkPBC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or subscribe to the Clerk’s YouTube channel.

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