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Freeport’s traffic ticket amnesty brings in nearly $400,000

Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy with some of

Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy with some of the tickets that were paid during a ticket amnesty program in the village on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

Freeport village officials announced Tuesday that its 45-day traffic ticket amnesty program has brought in $386,000 to village coffers.

“That is money that was not in our budget. It went right into the village’s general fund and will be used for needed projects in Freeport that will benefit all of our residents,” Mayor Robert T. Kennedy said outside the village police headquarters on North Ocean Avenue.

Although outstanding tickets going back to January 1, 1990, amounted to $2.4 million, he called the amnesty program, begun in April, “enormously successful.”

He credited Village Justice Roy Cacciatore for his administration of the program.

Cacciatore’s office sent mailings to more than 10,000 households, accounting for 20,770 tickets, and then sent out a second and third reminder to those who had not paid.

Fines could be paid over the telephone, online, by email, regular mail, by app or in person. People were required to enter a plea when they paid, except if they paid their fine by app, according to village officials.

The 40 percent discount on the overdue tickets cost the village $277,688, “but it was money the village never had anyway,” said one village official.

“The amnesty program also allowed the village court system to close nearly 5,000 cases that had been on the books since the 1990s,” said Kennedy.

“We gave people with unpaid tickets every oppportunity to take advantage of our amnesty program, and the response was tremendous . . . a good example of a village and its citizens working together for the betterment of Freeport,” he said.

Kennedy said there would not be another such amnesty in the village “for many years.”

The program ran from April 1 to May 15 but was only announced Tuesday because “there were a great many tickets paid at the last minute, and it took some time to piece all of the data together,” said Michael Fricchione, a spokesman for the village.

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