Councilman Proposes Amnesty For Parking Scofflaws

Program Would Drop Late Fees On Unpaid Parking Tickets

Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown said an amnesty plan would collect at least a fraction of $23 million in unpaid parking tickets in the city of Denver.

Brown said under his plan, those who have failed to pay parking tickets over the years would be forgiven their late fees and would only be responsible for paying the original fine.

“Nobody's above the law, and these tickets should be paid,” said Brown.

But critics said an amnesty plan sends exactly the wrong message, that those who do not pay their fines can get a break from the city of Denver.

“There's got to be a better way to do it than just letting people off the hook,” said Denver resident Michael Migues. “I mean, it’s rewarding poor behavior.”

Laurie Easton said the city should be cracking down on those who have delinquent parking tickets, not cutting them a break. Several metro-area cities, like Lakewood refer delinquent tickets to collection agencies after 60 days. Denver waits an entire year.

“I don't think anyone's trying hard enough,” Easton said.

“I can understand where they're coming from, but we're $120 million short,” said Brown.

He’s talking about the city of Denver’s budget shortfall. Brown said he has no illusions that an amnesty program could bring in all $23 million in unpaid parking tickets that the city is owed, but it could bring in a few million, and that, he said, is more than the city has now.

“If I can't get $100, I'll take $25 these days,” he said.

Brown said the city of Denver has tried an amnesty program to collect unpaid parking tickets several years ago. His research shows the program brought in roughly $1.6 million.

Brown said he is talking to city officials throughout the week about whether they are interested in the program and how they could market it.

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