Greenport may impose parking ticket surcharge

Greenport Village on April 18, 2011.

Greenport Village on April 18, 2011. (Credit: Erin Geismar)

Sometimes, Greenport's parking tickets get no respect.

"It's not a huge number, but the percentage [of unpaid tickets] is high," said Mayor David Nyce, explaining why the village is thinking about imposing a surcharge on unpaid tickets -- $100 after 30 days, $200 after 60 days and $300 after 90 days or more.

Neither he nor Southold Town Justice Court had specific figures on unpaid tickets.

The problem of ignoring tickets and parking in handicapped spaces is so vexing that the village is also proposing a surcharge on the surcharge, so if the additional fine is not paid, it would add $50 more after 30 days, $100 after 60 days and $150 more after 90 days.

Greenport once had its own village police and village justice court. And, up until the mid-1990s, it actually had parking meters.

But the meters were removed then in an attempt to draw more shoppers to the downtown business district, and the tiny, scandal-plagued village police department was disbanded in 1994 after voters approved the move, 617-339. Without its own police department, the village justice court was disbanded as a cost-saving measure.

Now, tickets in Greenport are written by Southold town police and resolved in the Southold Town justice court. And, Nyce said, there is little incentive to track down scofflaws, because that costs more than can be recovered in fines.

Thus, the village attorney proposed the surcharge, Nyce said. Parking fines in Greenport range from $25 to $250.

Village officials held a public hearing on the proposal Monday night, and could vote on it by next month.

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