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Colorado Springs vows to crack down unpaid parking tickets totaling more than $180k in 2021 

Parking Meters
KRDO NewsChannel 13

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (KRDO) -- A newly released audit on the City of Colorado Springs parking enforcement and judicial processes shows more than a fifth of all parking tickets written up in 2021 went unpaid. The audit says the city missed out on $181,671 in potential fine revenue.

Not all is bad however, the auditors found that the City of Colorado Springs was “generally effective” when it came to collecting revenue from parking tickets. Seventy-five percent of parking tickets in 2021 were collected, resulting in $551,310 in fine revenue for the city. 

Since 2018, the city of Colorado Springs has seen a sizable increase in all parking revenue funds despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Parking revenue in Colorado Springs has increased by 66% from approximately $5 million to $8 million.

The primary driver was meter revenue, which more than doubled from approximately $2 million to more than $4 million. Despite COVID-19, the auditors say this directly stems from the city increasing its rates and adding more meters throughout the city. 

However, auditors found that the Municipal Courts responsible for collecting delinquent fines need to improve their processes to collect on past due tickets and ought to resume enforcement of penalties for repeated violations. 

After seven days, the Municipal Courts are required to contact the owner of a vehicle informing them of a late parking ticket. 

“There were 7,450 unpaid tickets that were more than 20 days past due at the time of the audit. Delinquent notices had been mailed for 4,058 of these, however, 3,392 past due parking tickets had not been sent delinquency notices,” the audit states. 

According to the observation from auditors, the Municipal Courts did not have a method to relate an out-of-state license plate to the owner’s mailing address. The auditors say out-of-state owners were not being notified. 

In the past, multiple delinquent parking tickets led to a vehicle being immobilized via a boot in the city of Colorado Springs. Booting vehicles was suspended by the Municipal Court in February of 2020. 

“Without notifications and booting, there were no consequences for not paying the fine,” the auditors stated. “This results in loss of parking fine revenue to the City.” 

The Municipal Court management agreed with the recommendation provided by the 2021 audit. 

“The global coronavirus pandemic and an unanticipated lack of access to state license plate information, the court was unable to use our enforcement capabilities for an extended period of time.” the Municipal Court said in response to the auditor's recommendation. “We have reestablished access to the state information and delinquency notices are going out. These notices will soon include a QR code for immediate access to the Court’s website for payment options.”

The Municipal Courts said they will regain the capability to boot vehicles owned by repeat offenders by the end of Q3 of 2022. 

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.

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