Syracuse Common Council approves amnesty program and increase in fees for parking violations to encourage compliance and enhance quality of life
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced the City will implement a parking violation amnesty program in September, the first grace period of its kind in the City since 2003. The Syracuse Common Council approved the program, as well as increases in fees for parking violations, at its Aug. 24 meeting.
The amnesty program will allow eligible individuals with unpaid parking violations the opportunity to pay ticket balances without having to pay the additional late fees that have accumulated. The public will be able to begin clearing old tickets by paying the original ticket amount, starting Sept. 8 until Sept. 25 for all tickets received prior to the program’s start-date. The City anticipates the program will generate between $500,000 to $1 million in revenue.
After the close of the amnesty period, the City will reinstate all late fees for unpaid tickets and plans to partner with a third-party collection agency to pursue balances owed in full.
“The amnesty program gives people with outstanding tickets the chance to settle debts owed without having to worry about accrued penalties,” said Mayor Walsh. “It also generates much needed revenue for the City at a critical time. The program is a mutually beneficial way to help address added financial stresses for local government and residents.”
To qualify for amnesty, tickets:
- can already be on a payment plan;
- are eligible even if no amnesty notice was received;
- cannot already be included in a bankruptcy proceeding; or
- cannot be a part of a civil judgment already rendered.
Effective Oct. 1, the City will also implement increases in multiple categories of parking violations:
- Handicap parking violations will go from $105 to $130;
- Odd-even parking tickets will go from $25-$30 between April and October to $40-$75 in winter months;
- Parked vehicles blocking pedestrian- and public transit-walkways will go from $40 to $60;
- Traffic obstruction tickets will go from $40 to $75;
- Fire hydrant or lane hampering tickets will go from $55 to $75; and
- Overtime parking tickets will go from $30 to $40.
The most significant increases apply to violations that negatively impact the quality of life in neighborhoods: misuse of handicap parking creating accessibility issues; congested roads prohibiting clear and easy access for city service, emergency and residential vehicles; and pedestrian walkway obstruction presenting safety hazards.
“Booting of vehicles will be suspended during the amnesty program. For any car on the boot list, the probability that financial hardships will compound is higher,” said Martha Maywalt, first deputy commissioner of the Department of Finance. “To avoid being booted or towed the best course of action is for vehicle owners to use the late fee forgiveness period to make things whole.”
Notices with information about the penalty fee waiver period and the aggregate amount owed for fines related to one or more tickets will be mailed to those with known names and addresses on Friday, Sept. 4. Before the program begins, the City Payment Center will open an online database to search for itemized ticket details.
Payment methods accepted throughout the amnesty program will be by cash, money order, certified checks, credit card or e-Checks only. To make a payment electronically using a credit card or e-Check, the public can go online to www.invoicecloud.com/syracuseny or call 315-990-9200 to pay by phone. Certified checks payable to the “Commissioner of Finance” with the plate number included on the check can be mailed to: Commissioner of Finance at P.O. Box 5268, Binghamton, NY 13802; certified checks, money orders or cash (exact change only) can be placed in the Drop Box on the Market Street side of City Hall (233 E. Washington Street).