Northport officials have approved an amnesty program for unpaid parking violations issued in the village between Jan. 1, 2010, and Jan. 1 of this year as part of a larger effort to address downtown parking problems.

The program will offer a 40 percent reduction on all amounts due from that period, according to a resolution passed at a village board meeting last week.

The program will be in effect Sept. 1 through Oct. 1. Anyone seeking to resolve outstanding tickets must settle their balances during that period to receive the reduced fee.

The reduction applies to the total outstanding balance for tickets, including the original fine and any late fees that have accumulated, Village Attorney Stuart Besen said Monday.

Trustee Ian Milligan said village officials did not previously have the resources to pursue past-due fines, but the village has now contracted with Indianapolis-based Government Payment Services Inc. to manage and pursue collections on behalf of the village.

“This is just a way to clear the books and start from scratch,” he said.

The village is to receive the original amount owed and 70 percent of any late fees, and Government Payment Services is to receive the remaining 30 percent.

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“It’s part of the overall parking issue we’re looking at,” Milligan said. “If we’re not collecting the fine, it’s not effective.”

The amnesty program comes as Northport police are cracking down on drivers staying in two-hour metered parking spots for longer than the allotted time. The increased enforcement for those spots began June 1 in response to Main Street business owners who sought more customer turnover in the already congested downtown.

The two-hour limit at meters is in effect seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with no exceptions. Adding coins beyond the two-hour limit does not extend the time limit, Northport Police Chief Bill Ricca said.