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Motorists owe Cincinnati $10.3 million in parking tickets and councilmember wants them to pay up

Public services depend on it, Greg Landsman says
Posted: 8:59 PM, Jun 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-25 21:59:21-04

CINCINNATI — Motorists owe the City of Cincinnati $10.3 million in unpaid parking tickets and late fees from 2013 through 2018. Now councilmember Greg Landsman says it’s time to collect.

Landsman introduced a motion Tuesday to direct the city to examine ways to collect those millions that the city isn’t getting paid. He says the city’s ability to provide public services depends on it.

“We’re losing millions of dollars because some people don’t want to pay those tickets. It’s just not fair for residents,” Landsman said. “So we need to get to a point where everybody is paying their tickets.”

It’s critical to collect parking fees to help pay for police and fire, trash removal, snow removal, street paving and more, Landsman said.

“I think it’s fair to say that if everyone paid their parking tickets we would have more money for public services and we would be delivering services at a much higher level, so it’s important to do this,” Landsman said.

Besides, Landsman said, council has used parking fines to fill budget gaps, and that’s not sustainable anymore.

“It’s been happening for years where council has been saying we need more revenue for this and that and they’ve been using fees and fines, but in particular parking fines … I think people expect everyone to pay those tickets,” Landsman said.

Landsman plans to present his motion to the full council on Wednesday. He said Cincinnati should take a cue from other cities that get more return on their parking tickets.

“We need the administration to look at best practices,” he said.

"I think other cities have ramped up enforcement and have found creative ways to ensure people pay and have partnered with other folks who are really good at this.

“I suspect that's what we'll do."

What about an amnesty program where people with unpaid fines could get late fees waived? That's a motion councilmembers Tamaya Dennard and Wendell Young have submitted.

"I think amnesty programs have worked but they haven’t always worked, so there’s a question," Landsman said. "If we’re going to do that, what’s the right way to do it so they’re effective?"

Neither Dennard nor Young responded immediately to WCPO's requests for comment.