By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–The ever-vigilant Parking Authority plans to boost the late payment penalties on all parking tickets in Philadelphia.
Prompting the change is the success of a grace period that was added last year.
The Parking Authority, spurred by City Council, last year made a big change: the late payment penalty on tickets was no longer imposed after 15 days. Instead now a warning letter goes out after 15 days and the penalty kicks in 10 days after that.
Parking Authority Executive Director Vince Fennerty says this will amount to a grace period.
“Now they get the warning letter in the mail, it reminds them, they pay the ticket without the penalty. So those who forgot to pay get an extra 15 days and a notice by mail. That’s where the revenue loss came in.”
The revenue loss was put at $2 million dollars, attributed entirely to the new grace period and the delayed late penalty.
Fennerty now wants City Council approval to make up that shortfall.
“We are proposing to add five additional dollars to the first late penalty and five additional dollars to the second late penalty. Those individuals who got the letter and ignored the letter, we’re going after them with a slightly higher penalty.”
If approved, the first late penalty, which kicks 25 days after the ticket is written, would go from $25 to $30.
Fennerty rejects criticism that the Authority is simply trying to milk drivers for more revenue stressing that this only affects those who ignore the warning letters.
“We’re not trying to milk anyone. A penalty is so when you get a ticket and you don’t pay it, you will be enhanced to pay it on time the next time.”
Fennerty says those who do get tickets won’t face the higher penalties if they pay within a month.
“Be a good citizen, pay on time.”
City Council is expected to give final approval to the higher late penalties next month.