How do cities collect past due Parking Fees?


How do cities collect past due Parking Fees?

Baltimore city has hired a Texas firm to help collect past due parking fines. You can read all about it here.  The only issue I have is that I know of certainly half a dozen, maybe more, companies that assist cities in collecting parking fines, and this company isn’t on my list. That doesn’t mean they won’t do a good job. They may be aces at this. According to their web site, they focus on hospitals, back taxes, but parking isn’t stressed.

I only bring this up, because as we all know, parking is a contentious issue in cities at best, and a disaster at worst. The way fines are collected and the attitude of the collectors is extremely important. As one of my friends, say, "It must be turned from an enforcement transaction to a simple business transaction."

Also, the concept of getting people to pay is a city wide issue that needs to have finance, enforcement, public works, law enforcement, legal, the merchants and citizens in the community, the city council and mayor as well as public relations all working in tandem to change to paradigm and get people to understand the need for fines, the need to follow the rules, in fact even the need for those rules.

Simply hiring a collection agency may collect some of the past due fines, but it seldom makes the problem go away.

If I were a business and had a significant past due problem (ie people not paying their bills), I would not only look at them, but I would look at myself and try to find out what I’m doing wrong. I think cities need to do that, too. There are major issues, a big one being simply that the people move around so much in city government that people responsible for one thing this year, have moved on next year. Programs aren’t look at as city wide problems, but department problems.

I’m sure the law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson do a fine job.  They handle parking ticket collections in Miami, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas, as well as Baltimore. Its just that I think the problem is bigger than sending notices, making phone calls, and impounding someone’s car.


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John Van Horn

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