[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Monday, city officials announced that its new Debt Relief Program is officially underway. The program was passed as part of the city’s 2016 budget process and allows individuals and businesses that owe debt to the city to pay what they owe without additional costs.
“The Debt Relief Program was developed in response to requests from residents and aldermen to provide a path forward for those who may be struggling to get out from under the debt they owe to the city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This program is also part and parcel of the city’s stronger scofflaw enforcement strategy that ensures those who owe debt to the city are paying their fair share.”
Under the Debt Relief Program, individuals or businesses with debt from unpaid parking violations, red light violations, violations imposed by the Department of Administrative Hearings or taxes incurred prior to 2012 will not be required to pay the penalties, interest and collection costs associated with the debt if they pay it off by Dec. 31, 2015. Debt that is currently subject to a payment plan or legal activity is not eligible for the Debt Relief Program.
Along with providing debt relief, the city is developing additional options to make it easier for vehicle owners to pay their bills and avoid the debt from being created in the first place—options such as early payment plans (prior to penalty) and online payment plans.
The additional payment plan options and the Debt Relief Program are components of the mayor’s overall enforcement effort to ensure individuals and businesses pay their delinquent debt owed to the city. As part of scofflaw enforcement, the city is cracking down on businesses with unpaid and delinquent tickets, including pursuing a process for business license revocation for any business with significant amounts of outstanding debt.