The Town of Islip, in an effort to go after scofflaws who haven’t paid nearly $2 million in parking tickets over the past several years, collected $275,694 through an amnesty program that ended on Dec. 31.
There were 12,183 outstanding parking tickets — dating from Jan. 1, 2008, to Sept. 30 — at the start of the program, which launched Nov. 15, according to figures provided by the town.
During that seven-week period, 2,358 tickets were paid, a town spokeswoman said. The money goes into the town’s general fund, along with all other revenue, officials said.
Still, more than 9,000 overdue tickets remain.
“Whenever there’s outstanding receivables, you want to do whatever you can to recoup them. This is a tool in the arsenal to get some money that’s due to the town, and ultimately to the taxpayer,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Anyone who has any parking tickets out there, they need to satisfy them.”
The full-price of tickets range from a low of $50 for parking without a permit to as high as $250 for parking a commercial vehicle on the street overnight, the spokeswoman said.
The amnesty program slashed the cost of each ticket, including the fines and penalties, by 60 percent, the town said. Those who paid their tickets under the program saved a total of $200,000, instead of paying full-price and fines, according to the spokeswoman.
“I kind of thought the end of the year might be an optimal time to do this,” Carpenter said. “It’s the time to tie up all loose ends and start the new year with a clean slate, so to say.”
The number of unpaid tickets was “not unusually high,” Carpenter said.
“Still, it is troubling that there are these many outstanding tickets,” Carpenter said. “It’s kind of annoying when people fly in the face of what’s right when there are so many people that do something wrong and they pay in a timely fashion. It’s not fair.”
Town officials are now in phase two of the program, called “targeted compliance,” where full penalties are reinstated and offenders will receive notifications from the town demanding payment, the spokeswoman said. Phase three would include a third-party collection agency enforcement action. Towing and boot enforcement are also options.
The last amnesty program in the town was about three years ago. Carpenter said she considered the results of this amnesty a success since the revenue exceeded the expected $250,000 estimated by FBS Inc., of Hempstead, the town’s authorized collection service.
“Had we recouped all the monies, that would be like hitting the Powerball,” Carpenter said. “But realistically, we did well.”