Just over a week ago, the City of Nelson sent out 5,200 letters in its parking meter amnesty program, and since then there have been 835 payments in response.
Those are from people who have taken the city up on its offer of settling $50 fines for $15 in exchange for having their record wiped clean as the city enters a new parking software system. The amnesty runs until Jan. 19.
Fifty-three per cent of those who have settled so far are from outside Nelson, according to city finance manager Colin McClure. But he has not sent letters to all outside-Nelson ticket holders.
“We are selective in who we will send a letter to,” he said in an email.
“As an example, if you have two or three tickets in the past few years and your address is Kelowna, I would be inclined to send you a letter,” McClure said. “However, if you have one ticket from 2010 and your address is, say, in Terrace, I might decide it is not worth it.”
The fines under the new system will be the same as currently: $25 goes down to $10 if paid within 14 days, and then up to $50 if not paid within 28 days.
Under the new system, a warning letter will be sent before the fine goes to $50.
Then a final notice will be sent warning that an unpaid ticket will go to a collections agent. McClure said the city is currently looking to contract with a collections agency for the new system.
“After the parking ticket amnesty is over,” McClure said, “staff will review the outstanding list from the old system and make a determination on those that declined the opportunity to settle their tickets and who will be included in the new enforcement strategy.”
For 2018, the city budgeted $980,000 for meter revenue, $80,000 of which was allocated to the downtown waterfront reserve, which is used for various downtown beautification projects.
That leaves $900,000 left for capital projects related to roads and other transportation infrastructure, McClure said.
As of of three weeks before year end, he said, the city is slightly above the budgeted parking meter revenue.