Now That the City Is Owed $700 Million in Parking Tickets, They're Going to Start Cracking Down

City Hall is pretty desperate to bridge that $3.3 million budget gap. The Daily News and New York Times report today that delinquent drivers owe the city almost $680 million in unpaid parking tickets, and the city's Department of Finance is finally cracking down on them with a slew of new penalties -- including suspended registrations and sending their debts to collections.

The city has already sent 1.4 million unpaid tickets to collection agencies, which it says total $209 million in fines.

It's also acting less lenient towards drivers who let their fines accumulate. "While the city's practice was to let overdue fines accumulate to $800 or more before giving them to collection agencies," the Times says, "now any amount owed can set off the hunt for payment."

Drivers' car registrations can also now be suspended if they become delinquent on more than five violations in one year. Before now, expired registrations simply couldn't be renewed if the driver had more than $350 in outstanding parking ticket debts.

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The Times points out that it's "too early to assess whether the city's strong-arm strategy is working," but judging by how well the city's done with that $15 million pot of uncollected street vendor fines... don't get your hopes up.

[shernandez@villagevoice.com]


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