Parking Ticket Pardons Offered

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BLOOMSBURG -- A police department in Columbia County hopes giving people a discount on their unpaid parking tickets will encourage them to pay up. It is called parking ticket amnesty. 

The catch?  The offer is only good until the end of the month.

What starts out as a $10 parking ticket in Bloomsburg increases to $86 if you don't pay it within 30 days. 

All this month, the town's parking ticket amnesty program offers a way for people to pay off their debts without digging deep into their wallets.

Violate the parking rules in Bloomsburg and you may see a bright yellow ticket on your vehicle. Bloomsburg police say there are around 4,000 unpaid parking tickets in the town totaling close to $125,000.  That is why police are cutting people a break this month

"If people have been holding tickets with increased court costs, they can come here and pay face value for the tickets,” said Bloomsburg Chief Leo Sokoloski.

Chief Sokoloski said the cost of parking tickets in Bloomsburg increases every ten days.  For example, within one month, a $10 ticket becomes $86 dollars.  The parking amnesty program lets ticket holders settle the debt by paying less than half of that.

“I always feel it's better to make a friend than lose a friend and save people some money,” said Chief Sokoloski.

The Bloomsburg Police Department is encouraging people to pay their outstanding parking tickets this month, because in March the department is considering going through a collection agency to get the rest of the money.

“We haven't been hugely successful with recouping some costs.  This will be another avenue to benefit the town,” added Chief Sokoloski.

The chief says so far around 20 people have come to the Bloomsburg Police Department to pay off their parking tickets. 

April Stemrich heard about the program and came to pay off her parking ticket.  It turns out she was not eligible because the parking amnesty program only covers parking tickets issued before this year.

"I had a month ago one turn into $90.  It was $15 or $10 originally, so obviously you want to get them paid right away,” she said.

People can pay off their old parking tickets in Bloomsburg at the discounted price until February 28 you can do this at the Bloomsburg Police Department or on the department's website.