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Amityville offers parking ticket amnesty in July

Amityville Village trustee Nick LaLota is shown in

Amityville Village trustee Nick LaLota is shown in this file photo. Credit: Steve Pfost

Amityville Village, owed $544,000 in fines on parking tickets going back as far as 2004, will offer scofflaws a one-time deal this summer — pay 70 percent of what you owe, or face the dreaded vehicle boot.

Letters will go out to 2,800 people who’ve racked up a total of 4,800 unpaid tickets. Some 961 of those people are repeat offenders. Offenses range from expired meter parking, which carries a $25 fine, to unpermitted parking in a handicapped spot or blocking a fire hydrant, both of which carry $100 fines.

Additional late fees and penalties bring the average amount owed per ticket to $120, trustee Nick LaLota said, with the total amount owed on some tickets now up to $400.

The amnesty will run from July 1 to July 31.

After July, LaLota said, “The deal is off.”

Village code permits Amityville police to immobilize vehicles on which there are three or more parking violations, or there are outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court or unpaid fines. The immobilization adds a $250 fee plus possible towing charges.

The village may also forward its list of scofflaws to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, LaLota said, making it impossible to re-register a vehicle until fines are paid.

Similar programs have recovered about 15 percent of the amount owed other municipalities. Based on that rate, Amityville officials expect the program will generate about $80,000.

“I don’t think anybody would expect 100 percent compliance,” Clerk-Treasurer Dina Shingleton said. But, she added: “I can only be hopeful that human nature is that people want to do the right thing.”

Amityville will use a consultant, Hempstead-based Fundamental Business Services, to run the program.

Long Island towns including Babylon, Brookhaven, Islip and Huntington have used the company for similar programs.

Like several other deals the village has made in recent years with consultants, FBS will keep a portion of the money it collects. Initially, the company proposed to keep 40 percent, but LaLota pushed for a lower amount. Under the deal village attorney Richard Handler reached with the company last week, the company will keep 30 percent of recoveries.

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