April 22, 2016 - 4:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Kamloops is looking to improve the way it deals with people with outstanding parking tickets. More than one in 10 tickets are left unpaid each year, which translates into a lot of lost revenue.
“We have in the order of 10 to 15 per cent violation tickets each year that are unpaid,” community safety director David Duckworth says. “That’s in the order of $100,000 plus a year.”
Bylaw enforcement manager Jon Wilson says a review of collections is planned in order to make sure people who don’t pay their tickets start paying them.
The current process is cumbersome, out of date and inefficient, according to the city hall staffers.
Wilson says the communication with the collection agency the city uses hasn’t been effective and part of the review will look at what can be done internally before tickets go to the collection agency.
The city issues around 17,000 tickets issued each year, Wilson says, and the vast majority are paid quickly due to the discount if paid within 24 hours or 30 days.
He says disputed tickets that wind up in court, about 100 a year, aren’t really an issue. While the cost of a short court case is more than what the ticket is worth, it ensures offenders are held accountable.
Wilson says repeat offenders aren’t a big issue either as their vehicle may be towed after three violations, so they typically pay. Athough he points out their earlier violations may be part of the previous years unpaid tickets. He says the number of the previous year's unpaid tickets goes down as repeat offenders deal with old tickets to make sure their car isn’t towed.
Raising what the city charges for fines is a possiblity. He says fines can appear to be disproportionate to the violation because collection agencies take a percentage of the collected revenue. If the fine is low he says the collection agency may not see collecting it as a priority.
The city will be looking at how other communities deal with the collection of outstanding parking fines, Wilson says.
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