Ticket notices sent to homes
As March 3 nears, parking ticket violators are busy on the phone. They want to know if they’re eligible for the 12-day grace period that will waive all late fees on their parking tickets, city officials said.
‘I’ve had about 50 parking tickets, and I just paid a few hundred dollars for them,’ said Joshua Goodman, 24, a Syracuse resident. ‘If I knew I wouldn’t have to pay all those late fees, I would have waited. They should have an amnesty day every year.”
The Parking Ticket Collections Bureau will mail 93,000 notices next week to eligible motorists — those with tickets issued by the Syracuse Police Department after Jan. 1, 1997 — said Ron Monsour, collections supervisor. Downtown and the university area are most heavily ticketed, he said.
The Parking Ticket Amnesty Program, unanimously passed Feb. 3 by the Common Council, offers a last chance to pay up parking tickets and should give people an incentive to finally get rid of them, said Ann Rooney, city budget director, who anticipates $400,000 in revenue between March 3 and 14.
Parking amnesty saves ticket holders money, up to $50 per ticket, and revenues will help City Hall construct new offices and buy modern computer software, Councilor Martin Masterpole said. The city will implement a new software system and tie in with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, he said.
City court will no longer handle parking tickets as of May 1. People who challenge their tickets will appear in parking tribunals where city-hired lawyers will hear the cases, Rooney said.
‘It will help clear the books of old tickets, alleviate a slowdown on city court judges so they can focus on quality of life issues and it will take parking tickets out of the court system,’ Rooney said.
The city anticipates to clear about 20,000 unpaid tickets, Rooney said. It will notify ticket holders of the amount due after the amnesty and will include payment instructions, she said.
But if ticket holders still don’t take advantage of this last chance deal, they might find their car registration suspended, vehicle impounded and civil judgments filed against them, Rooney said.
Violators may be pleased with amnesty, but others are see it as unfair.
‘I’ve had two tickets, and I paid right away,’ said Mary Beth Edwards, a junior elementary education major. ‘Amnesty gives people a break, but at the same time it gives them a reason not to pay their tickets on time and just wait for amnesty.’
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