ROCKLAND, Maine — The city council will consider whether to give a rare break to people with outstanding parking tickets before they get booted.
Rockland Police Chief Bruce Boucher has recommended approval of an amnesty that would give people with outstanding tickets the ability to pay the original cost of the tickets rather than the greater fees imposed when those tickets are not paid on time.
There are $26,000 in payments owed to the city by people who have received tickets, the chief told the Rockland City Council on Monday night.
The council will vote at its meeting next Monday night whether to offer those violators a 30-day period, beginning March 13, to pay off the tickets at the original cost. Under the city’s parking ordinances, the fine doubles if the ticket is not paid within 30 days of issuance.
The alternative is for the department to begin an aggressive campaign of booting, or immobilizing, the vehicles of those who have an excess number of tickets. A locking mechanism, known as a boot, is placed on a tire of the offender’s vehicle preventing it from being driven.
The city requires anyone whose vehicle has been booted to pay off all the outstanding tickets and penalties as well as a $25 removal fee before the boot is taken off.
The police chief told the council that 34 violators — owing more than $4,000 combined — are eligible to have their vehicles booted.
The boot can be attached when someone has more than three tickets that have not been paid within the 30 days. The maximum number of unpaid tickets by a single person is 14, the chief said, with that person owing $280. Many are for overtime parking while others are for parking in a no-parking zone or parking in a handicapped spot.
Mayor William Clayton said the amnesty is a cookie to entice the people to pay.
The last time the city offered such an amnesty was in 2005 and the city received $7,500 in six months, cutting the money owed to Rockland in half, Boucher said.
The city receives about $27,000 annually in parking tickets.