City Council’s Job Creation Committee met today to discuss the Three Phased Second Chance Tax Amnesty program. The first phase, which ended March 31, 2011, was considered a success. Almost $1.3 million was collected during the amnesty period, $700,000 of that in the final week of the program. The income tax phase of the Second Chance Amnesty Program will add $1.1 million to the city’s general fund.
The second phase of the program, Parking Ticket Amnesty, has collected $1.6 million since it started on March 1, 2011. Under this program, those who have outstanding parking tickets can settle them for the original amount of the ticket, not the doubled amount. Fines can be paid for any City of Cincinnati issued parking ticket written before July 1, 2011. There are three options for paying outstanding parking tickets. The first is by visiting the clerk’s office at the Justice Center 900 Sycamore St. Cincinnati, OH 45202. You can also pay parking tickets online by visiting http://www.courtclerk.org/parkingticket.asp. The clerk of courts accepts Mastercard, American Express and Discover. They do not accept Visa. The third option for paying overdue parking fines is calling the municpal traffic division at 513-946-6000.
This program has been a success despite only having $3,000 in city funding for advertising. Lamar Advertising Company donated $8,000 in sign space. Councilman Winburn stated that he would ask the council for $50,000 to advertise the program, in hopes that the city would be able to collect half of the $12.3 in unpaid parking ticket fines.
Captain Gary Lee from the Cincinnati Police Department was also in attendance at the meeting today. He advised those that owe parking fines to pay them as soon as possible, because, even though the city is giving a 50% discount on the fines, Cincinnati Police are still actively pursuing those who have outstanding fines. Actually, Captain Lee says efforts are being increased to catch repeat parking violators and if the police catch up with violators before they take advantage of the amnesty discount, they will have to pay the full fine.
The police department wants the public to know that there is no amnesty for those with warrants. The only way to resolve a parking fine warrant is to be re-cited by the police. If you are pulled over and you have a warrant, your vehicle will be impounded.
The police are utilizing license plate readers on their cars and will be pulling over drivers with outstanding tickets. Drivers with three or more overdue parking tickets are at risk of having their vehicle impounded. In fact, Captain Lee says, vehicles will be impounded if the driver does not have the money to pay the fine at the time the police make contact with them. Currently, the impound fee is $150 with a storage fee of $25 per day.
Cincinnati Police are actively seeking out drivers with 5 or more parking tickets and letters have been mailed to drivers with $750 or more in parking fines, listing the violations and fines. If you are not able to pay the entire amount of the fines, the police department recommends visiting the clerk’s office and having the tickets registered for court. Captain Lee states that this will give the violator more time and stop the police from impounding their vehicle.t