HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A balanced budget appears to be in danger after a recovery plan update shed light on a major parking system problem: unpaid tickets.
When the Harrisburg Strong plan was inked and Standard Parking took over the parking system, there was a big learning curve for everyone involved. The biggest mistake was that the transfer agreement did not address how to legally go after unpaid tickets.
ABC 27 News broke the story last year and prompted city officials to develop the judicial process to seek unpaid fines. The backlog to collect that revenue has created a system-wide dilemma that is coming to head in 2015.
Last week, recovery plan coordinator Fred Reddig told Commonwealth Court that there are 20,000 outstanding tickets as of May. He said that is a loss of roughly $1.4 million, missing revenue that could put the city’s budget in jeopardy
About 1,400 new tickets are added to the backlog each month.
Dauphin County President Judge Richard Lewis was brought in to help expedite the collection process at the magistrate level. However, the report states that only 250 tickets can be processed every month given the manpower and resources. In the meantime, Standard Parking will begin to put boots on vehicles that have three or more unpaid tickets.
Due to the backlog in district judge notifications and the issuance of warrants, drivers may find boots on their vehicle without a reminder that they have overdue tickets. The transfer agreement states tickets must be paid in full, including an additional boot removal charge from a third-party company.
Marvin Dixon said that news certainly got his attention.
“It’s ridiculous,” Dixon said. “Nobody has that kind of money just laying around just to give out to get a boot off your car.”
Dixon admits he’s accrued several tickets while living downtown since the meters have been installed.
“I’ve got quite a few,” he said. “It’s like wasted money. I put quarters in and I run back out and I got a ticket that fast.”
“It’s ridiculous,” he added. “The tickets are too expensive as it is. It’s just robbery.”