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Port Chester Banks on Parking Amnesty

Port Chester will go ahead with a parking amnesty program this November, but elected leaders disagree on how much revenue to expect.

Port Chester leaders hope to entice drivers to pay old parking tickets this November with a month-long amnesty program.

Republican trustees floated the idea of an amnesty program earlier this year, following the lead of cities, towns and villages across the country that have declared similar amnesties in the hopes of bringing in extra revenue during tough economic times.

Delinquent parkers owe the village a lot -- almost $6 million, according to ComPlus, a Tarrytown-based contractor hired to handle collection and accounting for Port Chester's amnesty program.

An amnesty program would bring in a fraction of that amount, but some trustees say it's still a good deal for drivers and the municipality.

On Monday night, some trustees compared Port Chester's amnesty to a similar program in Hartford, which resulted in more than $200,000 for that city. In larger cities, like Washington, D.C., unpaid parking tickets and late fines amount to more than $300 million.

But with the Connecticut border just a few miles away, Port Chester's situation is unique. Trustees cited figures that said more than 40 percent of scofflaws are registered Connecticut drivers, and the vast majority of unpaid tickets are credited to out-of-state drivers.

The village can nudge New York drivers to pay up by notifying the Department of Motor Vehicles after a driver accumulates three unpaid tickets. But Port Chester cannot do the same with out-of-state drivers, and those drivers might not feel compelled to pay their tickets if they don't frequent Port Chester.

That means the amnesty will benefit people from out of town far more than it will benefit drivers in Port Chester, who pay up because they live here.

"That's why 90 percent of people do pay their tickets" in the village, Trustee Daniel Brakewood said. "They want to go back downtown."

In this year's controversial budget process, board Republicans already listed $200,000 in projected revenue from the amnesty, a move local Democrats said was premature.

Republicans say projected revenue from sales tax will make up the gap even if the amnesty program brings in less than expected. If it brings in more, they say, that's icing on the cake.

"We're just trying to incentify people who owe us money to pay it," Trustee Bart Didden said.

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Aidan September 22, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Is it possible to "boot" out-of-state scofflaws?
John B September 22, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Good question. Now I gotta lookup incentify---Hopefully I learn something new everyday.
Bart Didden September 22, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Incentify - (urban dictionary - does that qualify as a dictionary?) v 1: the act of motivating someone to achieve a desired result syn: induce, cause ant: inhibit 2: to implement a method of payment (or other remuneration) to employees as a means of increasing output syn: reward --------- Aidan, I believe that the ruling Law is where the act occurs (PC because that is where we issued the ticket) and if the vehicle is in our jurisdiction while three or more violations exist. Yes we have in the past and continue to "boot" vehicles from out-of-state. It is a very effective way to get the owners attention. The key to this program is to get the word out that beginning November 1st till the 30th if you have unpaid tickets it is in your best interests to get in and settle up. After this amnesty we will be amending our scoff law from 3 tickets on one license plate to 3 tickets in the owners name. Or simply put, if you own, or have owned, three cars and each one has just one over due ticket, we will boot whichever one we find, even if you don't own the other two anymore. The current database has more than 10 years of unpaid tickets to make lists from. Today's technology between the mobile plate reader and databases that can be sorted countless different ways to identify scoff law violators is a powerful tool and all those outstanding tickets can bring real relief to our taxpayers. I am just trying to do my job, present ideas and make a difference.
Nik Bonopartis September 22, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Looks like the CMS just swallowed one of my comments. Has anyone else had a comment disappear? If that bug resurfaces or if one of your comments goes missing, please e-mail me and let me know. Bart: Urban Dictionary works for me. Aiden: My missing comment basically said I'll try to get an answer on the out-of-state booting. I'm not sure if notifying the DMV is a prerequisite (which would only apply to NYS drivers) or if it's three tickets across-the-board. Seems like that portion of the discussion mainly applied to the automated license plate reader tech on some patrol cars.
Bart Didden September 22, 2011 at 09:18 PM
The three ticket threshold is set within our own local scoff law. There is no prerequisite notification to booting (NYS owners or not), but we do send invoices out as part of our standard collection practices.
John B September 22, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Thanks for the definition Mr. Didden, couldn't find it in my Merriam- Webster's dictionary. Now I gotta find out what an urban dictionary is. I'll ask one of my kids or grand kids.I like the amendment to the scoff law.Regarding booting, a few years back I used to see cars booted quite frequently-- now not at all. Also what ever the amount the village takes in on the amnesty is a plus in my book.Hopefully it is the $200,000. Thank you
Aidan September 23, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Thanks for the response. I was curious because, as you've probably noted, the downtown area is awash in CT plates. PC is a now a destination for shoppers, movie-goers and diners ... and while that activity does impact us positively there is no reason not to ask those same arrivers to follow our local prescriptions as the village sets down. All of us do likewise wen we have the need to do such activities beyond our town. Btw, I also think the new manner of calculation the third violation via ownership is smart-smart. Never even entered my noggin. Thanks for the quick answer.
Jennie B. September 23, 2011 at 01:26 AM
I agree, John B. If it brings in money, this is a good idea. On the other hand, I would like to know if this amnesty would benefit any of the Trustees and/or their families. In other words, I think it would be a conflict of interest, if this amnesty program benefits any of them directly. Just a question...
Edward Andrews September 23, 2011 at 10:34 AM
Is there a way online to find out if you have any outstanding tickets?
Concerned Homeowner September 24, 2011 at 02:01 AM
Jeanie, im sure you can freedom of information act that info
frank ross September 24, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Hey Bart Tell the Police/Parking enforcement to go to Willett between Highland and the Church. Cars from CT parked EVERY DAY in two hour zone. EVERY DAY and the metered spots right down the road are EMPTY. These CT people are scamming our village. Lets get em! Should not be that difficult. Thanks Jeff

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