New York Daily News

Putting on boot to kick those who owe

- BY CHRISTINA BOYLE cboyle@nydailynew­

MOTORISTS BE warned: The Department of Finance is giving the boot to drivers who owe big money in fines.

After much planning, a new pilot program was rolled out across parts of Brooklyn on Monday to clamp down on people with more than $350 in judgment debt stemming from unpaid parking tickets. Vans will drive around different neighborho­ods looking for some 270,000 license plates on a black list. Instead of towing the car, one of its wheels will be fitted with a bright yellow boot.

Motorists can make a phone call to a designated number and pay off their debt with a credit card; they’ll get a passcode to unlock the device. They will then have 24 hours to return the boot to a depot, or face another fine.

Parking enforcemen­t company PayLock has a $70 million contract with the city over the next three years to implement the program, which does not use taxpayer dollars. City officials hope the new approach will reduce the inconvenie­nce drivers experience when their car is towed, while also ensuring those who owe the city nearly $300 million in unpaid fines are forced to open their wallets.

“This is one more effort by the mayor to use technology to make the lives of New Yorkers easier and government in New York more efficient,” Department of Finance Commission­er David Frankel said.

The vans started out Monday in the police patrol command known as Brooklyn North. The program will expand to Queens and Staten Island in the next three to six months. If city officials deem it a success, it will become a permanent fixture in all five boroughs.

The boot weighs 16 pounds and motorists can request assistance if they cannot remove it themselves. In addition to their parking fines, drivers will be on the hook for a $180 clamping fee, a $70 execution fee and a 5% surcharge on the total bill.

An additional charge is applicable for credit card payments, and nonreturn of the boot within 24 hours costs $25 a day.

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