Ecklund: It’s Too Soon For Amnesty Program

The Jamestown City Council discussed its options when trying to collect more revenues from people who have not paid their parking tickets. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The city of Jamestown will most likely not operate a parking ticket amnesty program later this year.

On Monday, the council discussed the option of operating a parking ticket amnesty, which was mentioned last week by Eddie Sundquist, Jamestown mayor, as a way to acquire revenues from people who have not paid their parking tickets.

During the council’s Finance Committee meeting, Kim Ecklund, At-Large councilwoman, said it’s too soon to be operating another parking ticket amnesty program. She said city officials operated an amnesty program in 2016 for one month. She said prior to the last amnesty program in 2016, one was operated in 2009. She added that if city officials operate parking ticket amnesty programs too often, people will just wait to pay less in fines during that time.

Elliot Raimondo, city corporation counsel, said city employees are working on a request for proposals from private companies who could try to recoup some of the money owned the city in parking ticket fines. He also said city workers have increased enforcement to boot more vehicles with owners who own more than $100 in fines.

Ecklund suggested that city officials should wait to see if increased parking enforcement leads to more people paying their fines rather than operating a parking ticket amnesty program again.

The city of Jamestown last ran a parking ticket amnesty program in 2016. The program was announced in March 2016 and operated during the month of April. The program allowed vehicle owners with outstanding tickets to pay the face value of those tickets, waiving any penalties or fees that may have accrued.

City officials in the spring of 2016 reported raising between $25,000 to $30,000 from the one month parking ticket amnesty program.

Ecklund said in 2009, city officials raised $35,000 through the parking ticket amnesty program.

The committee also discussed the rate cards for towing companies in the city. Last week, Sundquist asked the council to look into whether the city should have set rates for each company or continue to allow each company to set its own rates.

Raimondo provided a brief history on the rate cards each towing company submits to city officials. He said the rate cards were created so towing companies couldn’t gouge people on prices during snow storms.

Ecklund said people who need towing services can select their own company to call. She said if no service is requested, then city officials call towing companies on a rotating basis for service.

In other business, Jeff Lehman, city public works director, during the full council work session discussed the flooding problem that happens around Federal Place and Fluvanna Avenue. He said city officials want to install a storm water management pond along Federal Place to alleviate the flooding. He said it will be a multistage process to install the storm water management pond.