The type of boot that will be attached to vehicles...

The type of boot that will be attached to vehicles owned by drivers who Nassau County says owe money for red-light or parking violations. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County says it's really, really cracking down on parking and red-light scofflaws, and this time it's serious. It's about time.

Nassau is owed about $50 million in fines, some of it stretching back years, and county officials say they're pursuing all of it. Considering that Nassau overall is going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more than it brings in this year, collecting big piles of money should be a priority.

So a boot-and-tow program will go into effect today. Vehicles whose plates are registered to owners with more than three outstanding tickets will be booted if they are parked legally. If owners don't pay their outstanding tickets and a $166 fee to free the car within 48 hours, the vehicle will be towed, incurring more charges. The cars of multiple offenders parked illegally will be towed immediately, and fees will run $125 plus $20 per day for storage.

The situation has come to symbolize how poorly the day-to-day operations of the county are run. Last year Nassau offered drivers with more than three tickets amnesty from late fees if they would pay up, hoping to bring in about $22 million. The county collected $186,000. People didn't pay because they didn't believe the county was organized enough to force them to.

We hope that will change this week. The county needs the cash the new policy will bring, and the competence it will demonstrate.