NORTH ADAMS -- It’s never exciting to get a fine in the mail -- especially one from as many as three years ago.
That’s exactly what’s happening to hundreds of area residents, now that the city of North Adams is working to recover more than $48,000 in unpaid tickets since 2011.
But with the city in a precarious financial position -- the fiscal 2015 budget closes a $620,000 deficit by raising water and sewer rates and cutting staff -- Mayor Richard Alcombright says the administration decided to proactively pursue the unpaid fines.
On top of the $10 demand fee, an additional late fee of $15 and a Registry of Motor Vehicles fee of $20 will appear on any bill for a parking ticket unpaid for more than 45 days. A car owner won’t be able to renew their registration or license at the RMV until the fees are paid, Alcombright said.
"What’s awkward about it is unfortunately people don’t remember getting the tickets," Alcombright said.
Since in many cases it’s been so long, Alcombright said City Hall will be lenient in waiving the $10 late fee. However, since the $20 RMV late fee is set by the state, it cannot be waived. The increases to parking violations approved recently by the City Council are not applied retroactively.
"What we’re doing is to try to find the middle ground," Alcombright said. "We’re trying to be friendly about it. We do recognize the fact that it’s two years old.
In all, there are more than 1,800 outstanding parking violation tickets in the city of North Adams.
In the future, the city will probably rebill for unpaid tickets every quarter to avoid this kind of surprise, Alcombright said.
But ultimately, Alcombright said, "the tickets to us are valid."
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