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Parking ticket amnesty program proposed in Southold Town

Leanne Reilly Southold Town Justice Court

Those with long overdue parking tickets in Southold Town may have a chance this spring to pay them off without facing additional late penalties.

During Tuesday’s Town Board work session, Justice Court Director Leanne Reilly proposed a parking amnesty program, which would allow people who have received tickets to pay the base fine — without any late fees — while bringing a substantial amount of money into the town.

“It definitely brings in revenue,” Ms. Reilly said at the meeting. “It is something that we should think about doing.”

Between 2007 and 2015, the town issued 882 parking tickets that still have not been paid. Because of that, the town is owed more than $65,000 in base fines and an additional $84,000 in late penalties, Ms. Reilly told the Town Board.

Supporters argue that if the town offered a month of amnesty during which late fees were waived, people would have an incentive to pay back the base fine before the town takes other action. In doing so, the town would still make a substantial sum of money — or at least more than it is making from sitting and waiting for someone to decide to pay the full ticket and late fee, she said.

“We should try to get that money back,” said Councilman James Dinizio Jr. “It’s our money.”

Other opinions varied during the meeting. Councilman Bob Ghosio said the program might “reward the wrong people,” while Councilman Bill Ruland described it as a “prudent” method to close out many of the ticket cases, while bringing money into the town.

Supervisor Scott Russell suggested running the program from May 1 to June 1, but no formal resolution has been drafted.

Caption: Justice Court Director Leanne Reilly discusses her proposed plan with the Southold Town Board.

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