Metro has $4M in unpaid parking tickets; check out hot spots - News, Weather & Sports

Metro has $4M in unpaid parking tickets; check out hot spots

Stacy Harris Stacy Harris
Tiffany Smith Tiffany Smith
Vehicle with unpaid ticket booted. Vehicle with unpaid ticket booted.
Notice of the fees to be paid to release a booted vehicle. Notice of the fees to be paid to release a booted vehicle.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - At a time of huge budget deficits for Louisville Metro Government, the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department uncovers a huge source of revenue the city isn't capitalizing on - millions of dollars in unpaid parking tickets. That's tens of thousands of unpaid citations collecting dust.

It's been dubbed the "scofflaw list," and I discovered many of the names at the top have the money to pay up. The question is why haven't they?

Stacy Harris walked out of court, but wasn't going anywhere. There was a big orange boot on the wheel on her Jeep.

"They said there were tickets outstanding tickets that I did not do personally," Harris said.

$160 worth. Harris had to pay that plus $50 more to remove the boot. The city got its money out of Harris. But we discovered there's plenty more it hasn't been able to collect. There are more than $4,362,000 in unpaid parking tickets in Louisville Metro. (For a street by street breakdown of the most ticketed areas in the city, click here.)

"People choose not to pay it," said PARC spokesperson Tiffany Smith.

Smith said PARC sends letters demanding payment.

"Sometimes when people don't want to be found," Smith said, "they are not found."

Finding some on so-called scofflaw list shouldn't be that hard. Records uncovered by the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department reveal of the 27 names listed as owing more than $1,000 in unpaid parking tickets more than half are local rental car companies or auto dealerships.

At the time of our interview, Smith said PARC had not actively pursued payment of those unpaid parking tickets. But that changed after we began our investigation. PARC sent a letter to the corporate office in Oklahoma for Enterprise Car Rental demanding it pay up. Enterprise owes more than anyone else in Louisville Metro: $12,685.

Enterprise spokesperson Laura Bryant told us the company is now paying its outstanding parking tickets. Bryant said the company pays all citations through the corporate processing center in Tulsa. It's a system Bryant said it told PARC about in April of last year.

PARC plans similar tactics with other companies since there's no one car they can boot. Smith said the tickets are typically spread out over a fleet of vehicles. Meanwhile, the regular people who owe more than $1,000 in unpaid parking tickets are being notified their debt is being turned over to a collection agency if they don't pay.

PARC is also rolling out computer equipped vans that scan license plates and identify boot eligible vehicles with three or more unpaid parking tickets. But the problem is there's only one van. The Troubleshooter Department watched one vehicle get a ticket, then investigated and found out it had three more outstanding.

Smith said by the time the boot guys got there, the van was gone and the tickets remained unpaid. Now, PARC is working on a collection system that's harder to dodge.

Lobbyists from Louisville and Lexington are teaming up to convince leaders in Frankfort to pass a law forcing drivers to pay parking tickets before renewing their plates every year. A potentially controversial move, that would certainly take a chunk out of the millions in unpaid parking tickets the city just can't run down.

"Obviously the city needs the money," Smith said.

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Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

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