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Lightfoot announces amnesty, debt relief program for city sticker scofflaws

Penalties that deter scofflaws from getting a city sticker will be waived during October. A debt-relief program could forgive some or all tickets.

A city of Chicago parking ticket
Some relief is on the way for Chicago residents who’ve racked up late fees and tickets for not having up-to-date city stickers on their cars.
Sun-Times file photo

Some relief is on the way for Chicago residents who’ve racked up late fees and tickets for not having up-to-date city stickers on their cars.

Residents will be allowed to buy a new city sticker with no additional fees or back charges during October, the mayor’s office announced Friday.

“Then, beginning Nov. 15, everyone who is in compliance with their city sticker by Oct. 31 will be eligible to have some or all of their city sticker tickets forgiven,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a video posted on the city’s website.

“It’s a new day in Chicago, and we’re going to make sure that every single person gets a fair shot at economic opportunity.”

For more information and to sign up for the debt forgiveness, visit www.Chicago.gov/citystickerdebtrelief.

City Clerk Anna Valencia has railed against the effect city sticker debt was having on Chicagoans.

“The city sticker debt is crazy. Only one out of three city sticker tickets are being paid a year,” Valencia has said. “If we keep this debt on the back of our communities, they can’t get jobs. They can’t get child care. They can’t drive to work.”

In 2012, fines for not having a city sticker were hiked from $120 to $200.

City sticker ticket debt swelled, compounded by late penalties and collection fees, to about $275 million since 2012, according to an investigation by ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ published in 2018.

Lightfoot’s plan comes on the heels of other measures she’s taken to roll back fees and fines, including putting an end to issuing same-day or consecutive day tickets for city sticker compliance violations.