WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - This may or may not come as welcome news, but the City of Wilmington has made some big improvements when it comes to collecting parking ticket fines.
When we did a story about uncollected parking revenue two years ago, more than $500,000 a year in parking fines was going uncollected. Today - that number has been cut in half.
The City of Wilmington issued 29,783 parking tickets in 2012, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars. That money is used to cover the city's parking costs.
During the last fiscal year, Wilmington spent $2.4 million paying the debt on the city's parking decks, and covering the cost of parking enforcement.
"Parking is an enterprise fund, so it does need to be self-supporting," said Betty Gurganus, the city's parking manager. "If we were not self-supporting than the chances are we would have to go into the general fund and then the taxpayers would be paying."
For the first time in five years, city parking was self supporting last year.
Gurganus said taking over the Water Street Parking Deck has generated additional revenue. New 24-hour enforcement at city parking decks has also brought in more money. Finally, the city has asked its contractor to be more aggressive collecting from people out-of-town visitors.
"They are now able to go in and check out-of-state DMV information… [and] send citation notices to those people who are out-of-state who have received tickets in Wilmington," she said.
On the flip side, the increased enforcement has angered some Port City visitors. Peter Mahlock of Fort Wayne, Indiana recently sent our station a letter saying he won't be visiting Wilmington again, thanks to the ticket he received while dining in a restaurant downtown.
Even with the improved collections, 7,384 parking tickets went uncollected last year, costing the city $274,163 in lost revenue.
For more significant offenders, the city can garnish tax returns, go to small claims court, or boot a car in an effort to collect unpaid revenue. The city can also send people to collections for unpaid parking tickets, but at this point, they have not pursued that option.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard