PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia city council’s finance committee has advanced a bill that would grant amnesty for parking tickets issued more than five years ago.
“We have to do what we think is best,” said Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell.
Blackwell introduced the amnesty plan, she says, after dozens of complaints about the Parking Authority booting and towing vehicles over parking tickets written ten years earlier.
Witnesses told story after story about being faced with unreasonable fines and losing cars over an inability to pay.
“They tell me I have tickets from 1987,” said witness Pam Williams.
“It’s not right for the citizens of Philadelphia to feel like victims of a parking authority,” Blackwell said.
Blackwell’s bill would give those with outstanding fines a chance to settle tickets received since 2013, with 10 percent down and 24 months to pay in full, and have the rest forgiven.
A parking authority official testified the measure will mean less income in the long-run, which would mean lower payments to the school district, a tactic one witness described as taking children hostage during a robbery.
While district finance officer Uri Monson joined in testimony against the bill, he said he didn’t know how much it would really hurt “because of the opaque nature of the financial information which is provided to us by the parking authority.”
The bill now goes to the full council.