If you’ve received a parking ticket downtown Grand Rapids in the last five years, didn’t pay it, and thought you’d pulled a fast one on the city, guess again. The City of Grand Rapids just signed a contract with a new collection agency for collecting on outstanding parking fines and they’re a lot more aggressive than the previous company.

WOODTV started the story after people began receiving bills in the mail from the city telling them they owed on a previous fine.  Most people thought it was a scam at first, but WOODTV checked in with the city and sure enough, they’re trying to make up some budget shortfalls. If you remember last year the city waived parking fines downtown for a few months, mostly because there wasn’t much activity happening.  But that cause some strain on funding for the city’s operating costs.

That’s when the city started looking at the number of unpaid parking tickets, which was at almost 40,000, according to WOODTV, which also added up to around $2.4 million.  That’s some serious cheese to help with budget shortfalls.

WOODTV says the city has sent out around 4,000 bills for the unpaid tickets, some have already arrived and some are still in the mail.  They also say that this process, although not as large, will continue for the next six to eight months, so if you owe a past fine and haven’t a bill yet, don’t think you got away with it yet.

I found this part interesting too in the WOODTV story, the old collections company has been doing this for a while and was bringing in around $122,000 a month in fines, but weren’t knocking down the number as much as they could, since some of the 40,000 tickets are as old as five years old.  In the first month of the new company working with the city, they brought in $280,000 in past due fines, and according to the story, charge less per transaction.  That’s all good for the city services the parking fines help cover.  Although it means you probably won’t get away with not paying your tickets as long anymore.

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