Whether or not November's parking ticket amnesty resulted in gains for the village depends on who you ask. But after an analysis of the amnesty last week, trustees agreed on one thing -- the only sure-fire way to increase parking revenue is to write more tickets.
On paper, there were gains: The village collected $152,000 in November, an increase of $65,000 from the same month last year.
But "there's no definitive way to know exactly what was driven by the amnesty program," said Trustee Daniel Brakewood, who took colleagues through a presentation featuring statistical analysis of parking revenue over the past 35 months.
Drivers paid far fewer parking tickets in the two prior months, September and October, according to the figures. Brakewood said he believes people held off on paying tickets during those two months in anticipation of November's amnesty, when accumulated fines were waived.
"Call it a wash. The big spike you saw in additional tickets getting paid equals about 800 tickets paid in November," he said. "Most of those tickets probably would have been paid in October and December."
Trustee Bart Didden disputed Brakewood's conclusion, but said the analysis made it clear, "we shouldn't have done an amnesty."
That's because Port Chester collects on almost 93 percent of tickets issued, so "the inventory of tickets to collect was miniscule," about 2,500 per year, Didden said.
Trustees found common ground on ways to increase revenue from parking. The 35-month analysis showed large variances in revenue. For instance, the village collected only $78,000 on parking tickets in October of 2010, but collected $153,000 in April of 2009.
Most of that can be attributed to dips and spikes in the number of tickets issued by parking enforcement officers, according to the data.
The solution, Brakewood said, is to "smooth out the revenue stream by being consistent in issuing tickets."
Trustees say they'll meet with staff to discuss specifics, like implementing tighter routes for parking enforcement officers and adjusting work schedules so part-time enforcement officers work at peak hours.
There was good news as well: Although the amnesty failed to produce the $200,000 in revenue trustees had pre-emptively included in this year's budget, the village will likely make up that amount as part of increased revenues overall this year.
Follow Port Chester Patch!