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Baltimore turns out to pay parking tickets

Rare amnesty offered to forgive added fees
Posted at 5:54 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 17:54:35-05

The stories behind their parking tickets are as varied as the hundreds of faces of those in line, but they share one thing in common.
    
They never paid them.

"I've had it since October or November, and it was for $77, but I knew I couldn't pay it then," said Nicole Green of Windsor Mill.

"I've got a $1,000 worth of tickets, but I paid half of them off. So, thankfully, I only have to pay $200 today," added Ashley Richardson of East Baltimore.
    
A half hour spent in line outside the Abel Wolman Municipal Building led to a similar wait and a pair of additional lines once they made it inside.
    
For Gale Apodaca, it was well worth the trip from the Eastern Shore.

"I'm saving $201," said Apodaca.
"How much was the ticket originally for?"
"35."
    
After all, it doesn't look good when a driving instructor can't get her car's registration renewed because of an outstanding citation.

"My husband and I incurred this ticket sometime last year and I said to him immediately, 'Let's just pay this and get it done with.'  'Okay, okay,'” said Apodaca, “It was forgotten." 
    
Baltimore’s two-day amnesty period runs through Friday, and it's the first time in 15 years that the city has offered to forego the added fees.
    
It doesn't even matter how long ago you received the ticket.

"You can still bring it in and get all of that penalty abated and only pay the original fine amount,” said Janice Simmons, the city’s Chief of Revenue Collections, “A lot of people are paying $32 or $52 for a citation that has a penalty up to $1,000 or more."
"They may be voting for you before this is over with."
"I doubt it.  They're going to vote for the mayor again."
    
That certainly may be the case for Brandon Lee of Northeast Baltimore.
    
His original ticket for $109 had grown into $1,500.

"It was a blessing,” said Lee, “My grandmother told me it was a Valentine's Day gift.  Thank you.  That was the best one I got for years."
    
The city expects to collect about $3 million in outstanding fees, and they're encouraging people to pay online to avoid the line.