Bremerton parking amnesty program wrapping up

Bremerton Municipal Court administrator Dawn Nelson says it will take a couple of weeks to get a final tally on the number of parking and red light camera tickets that were closed this month as part of an amnesty program.

As the city moves to a statewide computer system that prohibits people with two or more unpaid tickets to renew their vehicle tabs, the amnesty program was offered to give folks a break and avoid being unable to get new tabs. As part of the program, late fees and interest were waived.

From March 1-28 last year, the collection agency used by the city collected $8,900 compared to the $5,900 that was collected during the same time frame this year.

“I was hoping the number would be higher,” Nelson told the city council during a study session last week. “Obviously, the late fees are being waived, so that’s one of the reasons that the number is smaller.”

Another factor in the smaller collection is the fact there were about 2,100 fewer tickets issued ahead of those corresponding periods, Nelson said.

The collection agency also brought in about $1,500 more on red light tickets this year versus last year.

During the study session, Councilman Eric Younger asked Nelson when folks will potentially find out that they can’t renew their tabs.

She said a few notifications for red light violations have already been sent to the Department of Licensing, but none have gone out for parking infractions yet. She estimates that the court will hear from people in about four or five months.

“I’m not sure if they would contact you, but they will definitely contact us,” Nelson told Younger.

Nelson said that courts, overall, typically recover about eight percent of fees and fines, but that number is higher for parking and ranges from about 12 to 14 percent.

In all, the city is owed about $2.6 million in parking infractions, fees and penalties. When it comes to red light infractions, the city is owed about $166,000.

Nelson said there about 170,000 parking tickets that need to be transferred into the new system.

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