The amnesty program collected about $40,000 from those with unpaid parking tickets
By David Skolnick
An amnesty program that permitted those with unpaid parking tickets in Youngstown to pay the original $10 fine, and avoid the $20 late fees, netted at least $39,160 from scofflaws.
“It was a pretty successful program,” said Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark. “It served the public well.”
Between April 29 and Saturday, people with tickets were allowed to pay the original $10 fine with the $20 late fees waived. The $10 fee increases to $20 after a ticket goes unpaid for 20 days and then to $30 after 30 days.
The $39,160 amount is $10 a ticket for 3,916 unpaid tickets. At $30, that figure is $117,480.
The court will see the collection amount increase because its employees are still opening mail and processing online credit-card payments, Brown-Clark said.
Before the amnesty program, the city was owed about $300,000 in unpaid parking tickets that were at least 30 days old.
The clerk’s office collected money from more than one-third of those with delinquent unpaid tickets.
Also, the program led to eight of the top 25 most-ticketed vehicle owners to pay up, Brown-Clark said. Overall, those eight paid $7,654 to the city during the amnesty week when they actually owed three times that amount.
Among the eight were the top two: the person with the license plate DZJ 9588 owed $6,230 and paid $2,077, and DFB 4834 owed $5,360 and paid $1,787, Brown-Clark said.
Payments from those eight equaled 19.5 percent of the $39,160 collected by the city during amnesty week.
The amnesty was done as the clerk of courts works to establish a parking-violations bureau, expected to be up and running in June or July. The bureau will have the power to file civil action against those who don’t pay tickets, Brown-Clark said.
The sale of vehicles with multiple parking tickets could be blocked as could the driver’s license of frequent parking scofflaws, she said. Also, the failure to pay several parking tickets could impact a person’s credit rating, she said.
But that’s not all.
“The people who didn’t take advantage of this — shame on them,” Brown-Clark said. “We gave them ample opportunity to pay. Now, I am giving a list to the police of everyone who owes at least $500, and if they see the vehicle, it will be towed.”
The cost to get that vehicle back is $500 plus paying the full amount of delinquent parking tickets.
“The message is very clear: If you get a ticket, the smart thing to do is pay the $10,” Brown-Clark said.
That message, she said, is being understood by plenty of people, she said.
On Monday, the first day after the amnesty ended, there was a higher number of people at the clerk’s office paying $10 parking tickets they received earlier in the day, Brown-Clark said.