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Bremerton set to offer parking amnesty program

The city will offer a program next month that waves interest costs for unpaid parking tickets. - Kevan Moore/staff photo
The city will offer a program next month that waves interest costs for unpaid parking tickets.
— image credit: Kevan Moore/staff photo

Parking ticket scofflaws beware: Now that the Bremerton Municipal Court is set to handle parking tickets, an automatic hold will be put on a driver’s registration if there are outstanding fines that have gone to collections.

“We’re trying to be proactive and let people know the electronic system now does this automatically,” said Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent.

The good news is that starting next month the court is set to offer an amnesty program that will waive all interest payments for unpaid tickets so drivers won’t be blocked from registering their vehicles.

Bremerton Municipal Court Manager Dawn Nelson says that people will still have to pay the original fines, late fees and collection fees.

“It gives the public an opportunity to take care of these before a hold goes on their registration which hasn’t happened in a long time,” Nelson said. “It’s kind of a public service to give people an opportunity to clear that up.”

During a study session last week, some members of the city council wondered if there was a better way to incentivize people with lots of unpaid parking tickets to pay up.

“People who don’t pay their tickets aren’t gonna care if you waive the interest,” said council member Eric Younger. “They’re just not gonna pay it in general.”

Younger wondered whether there was a way to reduce the fines in order for the city to collect a bigger chunk of the estimated $2 million it is owed in unpaid tickets.

“The incentive is they can’t renew their tabs, so there’s a little bit of incentive there,” Nelson said.

Nelson also noted that the interest on unpaid tickets can really add up, and isn’t an insignificant number in some cases.

“If someone has 10, 15 or 20 tickets out there, it could be a significant amount,” Nelson said.

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