The following is a press release from Councilman Michael Nelson’s office:
(City Hall, NY) – Council Member Michael C. Nelson is urging the Department of Finance to continue a popular program that offers motorists reduced parking violation fines if they agree not to fight their summons in court. The urging comes at the behest of many New Yorkers who use this opportunity to pay off their debt with the city while adding more revenue to city coffers.
The program was started in 2007 with the intent of reducing the backlog of unpaid tickets. Since its implementation, the program has attracted over a million motorists in 2011 alone to pay their parking violations. Unfortunately, the City has decided to terminate the program as of next year on the basis that the City is actually losing money on it due to the great amount of motorists participating in it.
“In these tough economic times, government should be making it easier for individuals to get by, not harder,” said Councilman Nelson. “The notion that the City is somehow losing money off this program is absolutely absurd and void of any common sense. The real reason behind the programs sudden elimination is not that the City is losing money but rather that it is not making as much money as it would prefer. Clearly, this program has been a big success encouraging millions of motorists to pay their parking violations while the City generates millions of dollars a year in revenue. The City should not be in the business of penny pinching hard working New Yorkers out of more money.”
Councilman Nelson believes the program should continue indefinitely and is also urging the Department of Finance to support his legislation that would set up a parking violations amnesty program. This legislation, Introduction 22-2010, would provide a temporary, 90 day program that allows respondents to resolve parking violations that are “in default” and for which the default judgment was issued before January 1, 2010. Applicants would be able to resolve their default violations by paying the base fine and would not have to pay additional penalties, late fees or interest.
“These two programs would generate much needed revenue for our City while allowing New Yorkers to pay off their fines in a cost effective way,” said Councilman Nelson. “Parking fines were never meant to be a source of revenue. Rather, they are intended to prevent motorists from violating parking regulations. These two programs are a fair and balanced approach to the never ending battle between New Yorkers and municipal parking enforcement.”