Collection is the hardest part of enforcement


Collection is the hardest part of enforcement

In Statesville, North Carolina, local leaders are just about to give up on collecting more than $37,000 in uncollected parking tickets. They might have done it already if their city council members showed up to meetings in numbers that would meet quorum requirements. According to, city leadership voted two years ago to intensify efforts to collect unpaid parking fees, but the work has proved unsuccessful. The fines, along with another $117,000 on unpaid utility bills are not appearing.

In a memo to the council, City Finance Director Lisa Salmon explained that the actual amount in question is $37,765 and it involves nearly 2,700 parking tickets issued during the time period of Jan. 1, 2004, through May 1, 2008.

The memo said that collection efforts had been exhausted.

If collection efforts have been exhausted, you have to wonder what powers the city has on hand to collect unpaid parking fines and utility bills. Can they garnish wages? Can they call for arrests? Can they refuse to renew vehicle registration or utility service? Can the boot a car parked on city streets?

It’s hard to fathom a system that imposes fines it cannot collect. Even though writing off these sums does seem like the best thing to do now, it does not create a positive perception of the city or its policies. How many of use could afford to walk away from that much money because it would be too much trouble to get it back? Statesville is just sending a message to everyone that it doesn’t enforce its own laws.

Read the article here.

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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