Parking fine amnesty offered City drops penalties for 2-month period

August 13, 1992|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Staff Writer

The name of the acting city collector, Ottavio Grande, was misspelled in a story that appeared in yesterday's editions of The Evening Sun, which regrets the error.

Notice to parking scofflaws: Your prayers have been answered.

In a move to collect some $3 million in outstanding fines, the city has set a two-month amnesty period for penalties tacked onto parking tickets issued from 1986 through 1989.

"This is your last chance to pay those old parking tickets left in the drawer for years," City Council President Mary Pat Clarke said yesterday that as the Board of Estimates approved the amnesty, which begins on Sept. 1 and ends Oct. 31. "After that, we're going to come and get you."

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The city issues about 400,000 parking tickets annually and the fines range from $17 for a meter violation to a $102 for an abandoned vehicle. After a ticket goes unpaid for 30 days, an $8 penalty is tacked onto it every month it is outstanding.

Octavio Grande, acting city collector, checked city records and found a scofflaw who could benefit from the amnesty. The motorist had accumulated parking fines totaling $153, but the unpaid tickets have accrued penalties totaling $3,200, he said.

"It's for someone who wants to meet their liabilities but can't afford the penalties," Mr. Grande said of the amnesty. "They can see it as a way to relieve themselves of that weight."

The city deals with chronic scofflaws by flagging their license plate numbers and notifying the state Motor Vehicle Administration, which will refuse to renew the plates until the fines and penalties are paid. But Mr. Grande conceded that many scofflaws get around the MVA by selling, trading or abandoning their vehicles.

The amnesty does not cover parking tickets issued in 1990 or 1991.

Motorists who accumulated three or more tickets during this period run the risk of having their cars booted or having the MVA refuse to renew their license plates.

Last year, the city collected $8.5 million in parking fines and $3.9 million in penalties, according to Mr. Grande.

Yesterday, a city parking control agent, who combs the street looking for illegally parked cars, said the amnesty is a good idea.

"We're not out here to squeeze people. We're just out here to do our job," said the agent. "Most people can't afford to pay the penalties."

ABOUT THOSE TICKETS

Information about outstanding parking tickets issued before Jan. 1, 1990, can be obtained by visiting the city parking fine office in Room 2 of the Municipal Building at 200 N. Holliday St., or by calling 396-4080. Lines frequently are busy.

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