Suffolk County waiving some outstanding tickets

It's an early holiday gift courtesy of Suffolk County.

For the first time the traffic and parking violation agency is waiving late fees for red-light camera fines as well as parking and traffic tickets.

“The County is addressing over half a million outstanding red-light camera citations, parking tickets and traffic tickets,” said Executive Director Paul Margiotta with the Suffolk County Traffic & Parking Violations Agency. “The County is waiving $45 million in late penalties.”

The 10-week amnesty period which starts today and runs through February 20, will give people a chance to start over. Officials say residents with suspended driver's licenses due to nonpayment of fines will also be able to get back on the road.

“If someone has ten unpaid red-light camera tickets, we'd be waiving $250,” Margiotta said. “It's significant. If they have a parking ticket it could be $600 that we're waiving.”

But some lawmakers say there's a catch that could wind up costing people even more money.

Come March 1, the County plans to start booting and towing cars if people don't pay their tickets. “It's about money,” said County Leg. Rob Trotta.

“It's a cash cow for this County and it's a really bad thing to do for the taxpayers.” County Legislator Rob Trotta calls the program disingenuous.

He says it's the county's attempt to balance the budget on the backs of hardworking men and women. Suffolk County disagrees.

“We can't allow people to drive around, commit violations with impunity, become a danger to society by driving recklessly on the road and evading any kind of punishment,” Margiotta said.

During the amnesty period, drivers are still responsible to pay the County administrative fees as well as the state surcharges.