NEW LEGISLATION PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE CAR IMPOUNDS IF 3 OR MORE PARKING SUMMONSES HAVE NOT BEEN PAID
Release Date: April 15, 2009
The Greenburgh Town Board met with Complus yesterday afternoon—the company that administers the towns scofflaw program. This meeting took place as a follow up to a report from the comptroller’s office that there were $2.7 million in outstanding tickets (this includes penalties)—many tickets going back to the early 1990s. We were advised at the meeting that in 2007 the town collected 93% of all parking tickets. The national average is 69%, according to Stephen Hittman, Chief Operating Officer of Complus.
Prior to the meeting Police Chief Kapica conducted his own review of our collection and issued the following report to the Board: re: the issue of outstanding parking tickets and Complus.
FROM CHIEF JOHN KAPICA…
A further review of the scofflaw information provided me by Complus indicates that some of the most grievous violators received their tickets in the early 1990s. For example, the biggest scofflaw with 115 tickets totaling $6,940 in fines received summonses between 1993 and 1997. This person may have died or moved out of state making it unlikely that any of these funds will be collected. Others have similar circumstances. Of course, our new law will prevent this from recurring. The responsibilities of Complus are to input all parking tickets written by officers from both the Hartsdale Parking Authority and Greenburgh Police Department. Between 15,000 and 20,000 are written annually. The Police department forwards its hard copy tickets to Complus by mail while the Hartsdale Parking Authority downloads its tickets from electronic ticket writers. Complus provides and maintains the electronic ticket writing equipment and instructs Parking Authority personnel in their use. The Complus database is accessible by Court personnel and when a payment is entered, it is automatically updated. Complus also forwards up to five (5) delinquent notices to the registered owners of vehicles with overdue tickets. They also submit the vehicle registration to DMV to bar the owner from reregistering any vehicle which has 3 or more outstanding tickets within an 18 month period. Vehicles with 20 or more outstanding tickets are also reported and the registrations of these vehicles are suspended. The administration of this portion of the Scofflaw program relieves Court personnel from performing these functions ensuring that data entry and notices are forwarded in an expeditious manner. Although there is currently $2.7 million in outstanding tickets (many of these are from the 1990s), the overall collection rate is 91.5% of the total tickets issued. According to a 2003 audit by the office of the New York State Comptroller, an effective system should recover 85% of parking fines, excluding tickets that were dismissed and voided and adjusted for fines that were reduced. Among the eleven municipalities audited by the Comptroller collection rates were between 60% and 90%. Only one, however,had a collection rate of over 85%. So it seems that our collection rate is on the high side notwithstanding the outstanding balance, which incidentally dates back as much as 18 years. We did discuss our new program and some suggestions for improving the program.
NEW LEGISLATION TO BE INTRODUCED NEXT WEEK TO AUTHORIZE THE POLICE CHIEF TO IMPOUND VEHICLES AGAINST WHICH THREE OR MORE PARKING SUMMONSES HAVE BEEN ISSUED, IF THREE OR MORE OF THE SUMMONSES HAVE NOT BEEN ANSWERED WITHIN 45 DAYS OF THE APPEARANCE DATE. Vehicles will be released to the owner upon: payment of all towing, storage and administrative fees, the payment in full of all fines and penalties. We believe that many people who do not pay their fines are persistent violators or have out of state registration –and are able to evade existing enforcement measures.
The new law, if adopted, should result in an even greater collection rate for the town and additional revenue.