The city has a collection agency chasing after about 240 accounts relating to unpaid parking tickets totalling close to $75,000.
The accounts range from $100 to $2,400 owing — an alarming number for the city’s director of finance, Val Rochelle.
"I was a little bit surprised at the $2,400," she said. "I wouldn’t have thought someone would let it go that high."
Tickets could range from expired meters to parking in front of a fire hydrant, with fees from $40 to $120.
After delinquent motorists don’t shell out the cash, a letter is sent to the owners’ address warning them they have 10 days to pay or the city will file a lien against their vehicle.
If the amount owing is still outstanding, the city makes good on its lien threats and gives the owner 15 additional days to pay up.
"If it’s still outstanding after those 15 days, then they’re sent to a collections agency and go on to what we refer to as our ‘tow list,’" Rochelle said, a list which is sent to the police and bylaw officers.
Once the vehicle is towed, the owner then has to pay the outstanding tickets as well as any towing and impound fees.
According to Rochelle, some of those outstanding tickets have been sitting on the hands of collection agencies for three or four years.
"We’re going after the offenders with multiple tickets and obviously the ones with accumulated dollar amounts," Rochelle said.
The next highest account has about $1,300 owing and the third has about $1,000, she said.
The amount of cash the city gets from parking meters and tickets has dropped in the past several years with revenue just over $170,000 in 2013, down from more than $218,000 in 2007.
This is despite at least one bylaw officer using a very simple tool to help with her job — a digital camera. In 2009, it was reported the number of cases fought in court dropped by half as a result of an officer wielding the little $150 camera.
Rochelle said the dip in numbers could be due to a bylaw officer vacancy in 2013.
A new fee structure began on Saturday and now those who let a meter expire will now have to fork out $20 if they pay in seven days, doubling what the fee was before. The maximum fines have not changed.
Other bylaw changes came into effect this weekend. If your dog disturbs your neighbours or you forget to pick up after your pet, you’ll be on the hook for a maximum fine of $200.
Also to go from $50 to $200 is the fine for accumulation of dog/cat excrement. Under the proposed bylaw changes, several maximum fines would increase from $100 to $200 including the tickets for failing to pick up after your pet, as well as for a dog or cat running off leash.