Richmond pursuing those with unpaid parking tickets

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If you owe Richmond money for a parking ticket, you might want to pay up. A collection agency hired by the city is going after delinquent ticket holders this month. The collection firm tacks on 20 percent to each ticket. The rest of the money goes to the city. And there are 26,000 people out there that are about to get a notice in the mail.

It began in March with a stern warning from the city's Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall.

"If you came here and went to school got a ticket and moved to Connecticut, we're going to Connecticut go get our money," said Marshall.

City Hall wants its money for thousands of unpaid parking tickets. A firm, that normally handles personal property tax collection for Richmond is sending out letters to the 26,000 who owe the city all totaled, more than $3-million.

Marcus Jones handles the city's finances.

"They did an initial mailing of 13,000 at the beginning of July, and within a month we've already received close to $64,000 in revenue," said Jones.

The city originally hoped to collect about 500,000 in unpaid tickets, but now believes that estimate may be low.

"We're very serious about collecting revenue that due the city because it really helps us keep the tax rate down if we're just able to go after and collect the delinquent taxes," Jones said.

Jones says the effort may also deter people from abusing downtown parking. If it works, it could be a double edged sword...fewer parking tickets, which means less money for the city.

"If the end result is somebody wants to come downtown, and spend time downtown, and enjoy this beautiful city, and they have a parking space, I think it's well worth it," he said.

Everyone with an outstanding parking ticket will get a letter in the mail from the collection agency by the end of the month. 

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.