In a bid to immediately collect some of the $18 million in unpaid parking fines, the city of Hartford is offering amnesty to its most delinquent scofflaws during March. After that, the city is prepared to bare its teeth.
Authorities with the city's Hartford Parking Authority say the amnesty program aims to knock down the backlog of some 265,000 outstanding parking tickets -- some of them more than 15 years old -- and collect at least $200,000.
During the month-long program, the city offers to collect only the preset fine amount and waive all late fees and court costs on tickets issued before Dec. 31, 2010.
"No one likes to receive a parking ticket but enforcement promotes turnover at the curb which creates more parking opportunities for customers that support local businesses,'' said parking authority CEO Mark K. McGovern. "It is essential to enforce the parking regulations to create these opportunities and it's the responsibility of violators to pay what is owed.''
Once the amnesty period is over, the city and the parking authority say they will launch a concentrated effort to collect on the remaining outstanding parking citations.
That means the city will use its authority to tow vehicles with five or more outstanding parking tickets and hold them until all fines, late fees, court costs and storage fees are paid.
In addition, authorities vow that information on vehicles charged with six or more unpaid tickets will be turned over to the state Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, which can refuse re-registrations until the fines and penalties are settled.
Payment must be via mail or in person at the Office of Parking Management located at 160 A Market Street, Hartford, CT 06103. Payment can be made in person with cash, money order or personal check or through the mail by money order of personal check.