The District of Columbia government yesterday mailed out automobile tag registration renewal applications to some 225,000 city motorists, and notified 30,000 other car owners that they would have to pay outstanding tickets before receiving their applications.

For the first time, the city is telling the scofflaws by mail how much they owe, and encouraging these people to pay by mail in advance of the March 31 deadline by which the new stickers must be displayed on all District auto tags.

In the past, motorists with outstanding parking and traffic tickets had to find out in person how much was owed, pay the debt and then purchase their tags -- each time having to stand in line.

Transportation director Douglas N. Schneider Jr. said use of the new notification procedure and anticipated quicker processing of payments should make it possible for nearly all the renewals to be done by mail.

There is no change in the price of the auto tags -- $38, $45, $71 or $79, depending upon the weight of the vehicle.

Those with no outstanding tickets should receive their stickers if their applications are mailed in by March 17. Those with outstanding tickets who mail in payments by March 7 should be able to receive their applications in time to meet the March 17 mailing deadline, Schneider said.

Persons with questions are asked to call 727-6764.