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Report: Cleveland is owed $45.6M in parking tickets

February 9, 2020 GMT

CLEVELAND (AP) — More than one out of every three parking tickets in Cleveland have gone unpaid over the last three years, resulting in millions in unpaid fines, according to an analysis of city records.

The analysis by WEWS-TV found the city is owed $7.8 million in unpaid tickets over the last three years and $45.6 million for tickets dating back to 2000. The city had not collected 36% of parking fines issued in the past three years, according to the analysis.

“You are always trying to improve the program,” said Obie Shelton, a spokesman for Cleveland Clerk of Courts Earle Turner, whose office is responsible for collecting parking fines. “It’s a balancing act in terms of how aggressive we’re going to be with our citizens.”

To enforce collection, Cleveland increases fines on delinquent tickets and can place a registration hold on vehicles with three delinquent tickets, which prevents registration renewal until the fines are paid. Vehicles with five delinquent tickets that are found parked downtown can be towed

The city issued 8,800 registration holds and towed 145 cars in 2019, according to the WEWS-TV analysis.

Columbus, which uses a collection agency to collect fines greater than $25, has $16.2 million in unpaid fines since 2001, and a collection rate of 87.5%, the TV station reported.

Cleveland formerly used a collection agency, but found that method was not cost-effective, Shelton said.