Delay causes free pass for early 2017 parking tickets

LANCASTER, P.A. -- More than 9,000 parking tickets issued in the city between January and April are hanging in the air, unable to be enforced.

Larry Cohen, executive director of the Lancaster Parking Authority, said they've been fully operating since June.

"It's unfortunate that it happened. It was a one-time situation as we started up a new program. It wont happen again," said Cohen.

The Lancaster Parking Authority took over parking enforcement from the city at the start of 2017.

Cohen said, however, a later-than-expected November Approval by city council put them at a disadvantage.

He said they were hoping for an earlier approval in 2016.

"That would've given the state enough time to work through all the issue that needed to be worked through...basically, six months for implementation...and we would've been in collection mode as of January 1," said Cohen.

Implementation took the expected six months, so any tickets issued between January and April could not be legally forwarded to district judges.

Cohen said the parking authority made an effort to try and get some of those tickets paid back.

Only 10 percent of people with parking tickets paid.

The grand total of unpaid tickets is in the six figures range.

"If they were paid, I think it would've been around $220,000," said Cohen.

Since the majority of those tickets are past the point of any legal enforcement, anyone with a ticket between January and April gets a free pass.

"People are not being penalized who didn't pay so they should be happy about that," said Cohen.

Despite no one being penalized for not paying the tickets back, Cohen calls the lost money a "blip" to the city's income.

He said they've delivered a "very favorable" amount of payment collection since June.